It’s easy to say, “Life is really hard right now, but I know God’s with me, so it’ll work out.” It’s an entirely different thing to believe it. Believe it with so much of your soul that nothing that this world throws at you can change your mind.
At the point in the Bible that we read the above verse, Joseph had just been thrown into prison. For a crime that he didn’t commit. After being sold into slavery by his brothers in a foreign nation, which was Plan B, because they were going to kill him at first. Yet, no matter how bad life got, (and I think we can all agree that he was having a rough go at life), God never stopped giving him favor. He ended up getting sold to a good and honest man who saw all the potential in him, and ended up making him his right hand man. The Bible says that all Joseph had to worry about there was what he was going to pick for dinner! Mind you–he was still a slave in a land that was not his own. But God still blessed him through that.
Then the wife of his master lied to her husband and said that Joseph tried to rape her, when the exact opposite was true–she wanted to cheat on her husband and sleep with Joseph, but Joseph kept refusing her. Of course, the husband believed his wife, and threw Joseph in prison. I mean, can a guy catch a break? But then God gave him favor with the warden, who started entrusting Joseph with responsibilities within the prison.
“The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.”
The story ends with Joseph finding favor with Pharaoh, becoming his right hand man, and saving not only Egypt but other nations around Egypt (including his family) from a horrible 7 year famine. He even becomes reconciled to his family and tells his brothers who had gotten him in to all this mess, “What you meant for evil, God turned into goodness”.
But on that long journey to his happy ending–you know: when he was sold as a slave by his own brothers, taken to a foreign country, accused of rape, thrown into prison–along that long road of trials–how many times do you think Joseph was tempted to doubt God’s goodness? To cry out to Him, “Where are you, God?!!!!” To fall into the pit of self pity and depression? He was human after all; I’m sure he was there many times in his journey.
He always came back to God and said, “I have no idea why this is happening, or what I did to deserve this. But I will continue trusting you, God, because I know you love me.”
Wow! Talk about an incredible amount of faith!
We like to think that success comes from lots of hard work and self determination. But those are only a part of the equation. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you work. Stock markets still fail, good workers lose their jobs to “downsizing”, and other people cheat and lie their way right past you up to the top. True success can only come from walking with God. It’s the kind of success that lets you find favor even if you end up in prison for a crime you did not commit. You may still be in prison, but somehow, are successful in everything that you do, because God is with you. It’s so easy for us to think that God has abandoned us because life doesn’t look they way we think it should if we are “succeeding”. But remember–we only have a limited frame by frame view, whereas God can see the big picture. So even if your life looks absolutely impossible, keep trusting in God.
He has not left you.
He will still surround you with favor.
It just won’t look the way you expect it to.
But your happy ending? It’s still coming. And it will be full of so much goodness that you won’t even know what to do with all of it.
God loves you, my dear friends.