But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him. -Genesis 39:20-21 (NKJV)
Sometimes it’s easy to think that if life is difficult or hard, you must be going the wrong way, or that you’ve fallen out of favor in God’s eyes. You look at your situation and may think that, surely, this can’t be the right way!
You need to look no further than the life of Joseph to know that God will work through the most terrible roller coaster of circumstances to pave a long and winding road to better days.
From favored son to slavery
Joseph was the favored son of Jacob/Israel, who adorned him with a long-sleeved and colorful robe (unlike the simple, short-sleeved ones his brothers wore), drawing the ire of his brothers. His ornate robe with long sleeves implied that he didn’t have to take on the manual labor like his brothers did.
Joseph also told his brothers of his God-given dreams, that he would rule over them and others, which only enraged them further. At first, his brothers plotted to kill him, but then instead stripped him of his robe and sold him into slavery to an Egyptian named Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. (We find out later that Joseph pleaded for his life that his brothers not do this to him…can you imagine doing that?)
In mere days, Joseph went from preferred to only being valued as property for sale.
If this had happened to you, it would be pretty easy to doubt that God is really with you, and that His plans for you are good. But His timing and plans, His thoughts and ways, are so far higher and different than ours. Watch what happens next.
From slavery to headship…to prison
But the Lord was with Joseph and prospered him, and Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar, who put him in charge of all things in his household. Joseph’s favor and prosperity in the Lord’s eyes, thanks to his faithful and obedient walk, also influenced Potiphar’s view of Joseph, and Potiphar’s estate likewise prospered. Joseph rose from sold slave betrayed by his brothers to complete charge of a well to do household…not bad, right?
Well, here comes another drop from a peak to a valley: Joseph was a “well-built and handsome man,” and Potiphar’s wife repeatedly and boldly asked him to come to bed with her. He repeatedly refused her advances, so she falsely accused him of trying to seduce her, and he was thrown into prison.
But, the Lord was with Joseph, who would rise in administrative power there in prison!
To be continued…
Stay tuned, true believer. You can already see in this first part of how God works through even the worst betrayals and circumstances for greater things.
Just as God was with Joseph, we can take heart that He is with us. We can surrender and walk in faith and obedience to be active instruments in His plans. Hang in there, because this long and winding road, if you look carefully, is going ever upward.
John Waller’s “While I’m Waiting” promises the Lord we take every step in faith and obedience as we wait on His perfect will and timing, just like Joseph.