But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:20-23 NIV)
The story of Joseph is a lengthy one with these verses coming at the end of chapter 39. Joseph, falsely accused of trying to rape his master’s wife, ends up in prison.
In Joseph’s narrative we do not see God preventing Joseph’s ill-fortune or suffering. From the sale of Joseph into slavery by his brothers to Joseph’s rise and fall in an Egyptian household God does not protect Joseph nor does God rescue Joseph in any dramatic fashion. Why not???
We are assured in 39:23 that “… the Lord was with Joseph…” even while the Lord does not rescue or protect him. The key to Joseph’s life seems to be that God uses and works in the tragedies and trials of his life – works despite them in fact. God brings success to Joseph not once but three times – in his master’s house, in prison and then in Pharaoh’s court.
God is present in my trials and struggles. I want to be rescued, to be delivered – and sometimes these things happen. But God seems more to want me to acknowledge God’s presence, God’s blessing, God’s being with me as much or more than God’s make it all ok.
Perhaps – as with Joseph – because God cares more about the kind of man I am and am becoming by His grace than He cares about my context and circumstances. Joseph, if we are honest, does not come across as a youngster as very likable. Had I been his brother I am not sure I would have felt differently from them about him. But God transforms this spoiled boy into a man he can and does use. May I learn to see God working the same transformation in me in Christ.
God of Joseph, may I know your presence as did he. May I grow from where I am, from fault and flaw and sin, by your presence more and more into the man and leader and disciple of Jesus you want me to be. As I face trials and struggles – sometimes of my own doing, sometimes not – may I live in and grow in and trust in your presence. Amen.