Thanks to Potiphar’s wife, Joseph ended up in prison like a common criminal. Nonetheless, his Heavenly Father was with him: “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 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. 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 39:20b-23 NIV).
Joseph could feel the presence of God. Yes, even in prison we can have a banquet with God: “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” (PS 23-5 MSG)
What had happened? Joseph, the one so loved by Pothiphar that he had been put in charge of Potiphar’s entire home was now in prison. But it didn’t matter. Our Heavenly Father was with him. Joseph may not have understood why this happened, but he kept his eyes on His Father.
While in prison, Joseph was always patient, and he listened attentively to what people shared with him. Sometime later, Pharaoh became upset with his chief baker and his cupbearer: “Pharaoh…put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.” (Gen 40:1b-4 NIV)
Interestingly, it wasn’t too long before each of these former royal attendants had a dream. They didn’t understand their dreams, but our loving heavenly Father gave them both, through Joseph, an interpretation of their dreams.
The cupbearer’s dream brought good news: In three days, Pharaoh would reinstate him in his former position. Unfortunately for the baker, his dream was not so encouraging. In three days, he would be beheaded (See Gen. 40:6-19).
Everything happened just as Joseph interpretation of the dreams dictated. Unfortunately for Joseph, however, “The chief cupbearer…did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” (Gen 49:23b NIV); and two full years passed with no news for him. What was happening?
The thing is, Joseph was not yet ready for what our God had in mind for him, and if things moved too quickly, there might have been big mistakes. Joseph’s job during the waiting game was to get closer and closer to our loving Heavenly Father.
Right now we are trying to sell our large country home. As the kids have all grown and moved out, the house is too big. Imagine how depressed we became when after two entire weeks on the market, not a soul came to visit our home. Upon hearing this information, a friend of my wife’s from church stated quite simply that no one had come by to see our house because our new home is not yet ready for us. That one statement served as a powerful reminder to us that God is in control.
Too often we don’t always understand what is happening during the waiting game; but our job is to simply believe that our Father is in control. We don’t have to worry. God is in control.
Is your Christmas not the best this year? Don’t worry, God is in control, and as long as we let Him, He will be there to guide us.
The two years in prison helped Joseph to trust His Heavenly Father, and at the right time, he would be freed to continue the road towards the destiny God had for him. The wait for our house to sell is helping us to trust in our Heavenly Father as well. It will sell, but only when the time is right for us to buy our new home. And whatever it is that’s keeping your Christmas from being the best this year, don’t forget that it is during the wait that we learn to trust our Heavenly Father. After all, our Father is a God of hope! Let’s learn to be patient and focus solely on Him.
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)