I don’t know about you, but it seems like, at least around here, Satan is mad about something. He’s kicking and screaming right now, and it seems like there are a lot of people taking hits. I’ve seen division, hurt feelings, illness, crazy left-field things happening to families, churches, schools… Maybe his time is getting short and he knows it. I don’t know. I just know it seems to be amping up. Anybody else seeing it?
And I just realized that’s a tie-in to what happens to Joseph in Genesis 40. Honestly, I didn’t see it until just now. But Joseph knew a thing or two about situations getting worse, about hope appearing and disappearing. Favored son to slave. Favored slave to prisoner. Favored prisoner to, perhaps worst of all, forgotten. It’s one thing to have little hope. It’s another to have hope brush your fingertips then evaporate. In Proverbs 13, it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” I wonder how sick Joseph’s heart was after this?
Genesis 40:23 (GW)–Nevertheless, the chief cupbearer didn’t remember Joseph. He forgot all about him.
Some time after Joseph is falsely accused and imprisoned, Pharaoh’s cupbearer and chief baker land in prison and start dreaming dreams that Joseph–by God–correctly interprets. In gratitude and, wholeheartedly, the cupbearer promises to remember Joseph before the king… then immediately forgets.
How long do you imagine Joseph sat in prison waiting to get his say? How much hope do you think he had when the cupbearer headed into freedom? How long did he sit on the edge of his bed, jumping up at every sound, just knowing this was the moment, unable to sleep for the anticpation? How long before he sank into dejectedness and came the day he didn’t even bother to get out of bed? From Joseph’s view, it was hopeless.
I’ve been there. See, when I was mired down in fear for nearly ten years, I knew God could heal me. I knew he was 100% capable. Yet time after time after time, prayer after prayer after prayer, the healing didn’t come. I begged. I cried. I raged. I gave up. I hoped. I lost hope. I hoped again. Yet healing didn’t come. Until my birthday, eleven years ago tomorrow, when He freed me completely, healed me totally, in a moment. Over. Done. Free.
A few months ago, I sat with a student in the throes of a panic attack… and I knew what to say. I knew how to respond. And sitting there with her, it came over me. It was worth it. Nearly ten years of crying out prepared me to sit with a hurting child. And I finally, finally, finally saw why God waited. He had a reason. He had a purpose. And even if it was just to help one heart, it was worth it.
It was the same with Joseph. God waited. He had a purpose for allowing Joseph to suffer. No, I can’t explain it totally, but I know all Joseph went through prepped him to save thousands of lives later. I know God knew what He was doing, even when Joseph thought he’d been locked in a dark, black, hopeless box.
We can’t see the whole chess board. God can. As hard as it is–and believe me, it’s hard to say it even–but that’s when trust happens. That’s when we have to believe that we believe that we believe that God knows what’s coming, and none of this is wasted. In the end, it’s going to be glorious beyond anything we can possibly see coming.