Many times in life we ask the question, “Where is God?” Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold to a caravan of traders, sold again in Egypt to Potiphar, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and thrown in jail. We would have said to Joseph, “I am praying for you!” “Don’t get discouraged.” “Keep trusting the Lord.” “God has not forgotten you.” Certainly though, in the midst of it all, he too wondered, Where is God? In Genesis 40-41 we see that God was in it all. God is in control, and He was in the:
At the end of Genesis 39 Joseph is thrown in prison. “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison… because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (v. 21-23). It was one of the lowest points in Joseph’s life. It did not look like it or feel like it, but God was in it. In Genesis 41:1-3 we learn that the king’s chief butler and chief baker were put in prison with Joseph. God will later use them as key players to his success. Certainly though, this is not where Joseph thought he would be at this point in his life. He had a dream, remember? It can be easy to feel confined, trapped, restricted, held back, or limited as to what we can do. Joseph did not know the end of his story. He did not have a New Testament or know about the cross, the resurrection, and return of Christ. He walked by faith and not by sight (feeling). Here is something worth remembering: Satan and evil may appear to be winning but they are only tools in the hand of a sovereign God! It is all part of the plan. You may not like your circumstances, but God can prosper you in your prison.
As we continue through Genesis 40, we learn that the butler and baker had dreams too. They are not where they wanted to be either! One seems to be falsely accused too. They are confused and hurting. Even in prison, Joseph had the favor of God on his life. He noticed their sadness and he interpreted their dreams. When you are hurting, it’s so easy to focus on yourself. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” The truth is, yes they do! Plenty of people do. Help other people’s dreams come true, and in the process, your God-dreams will come true. What do you do in your pain and loneliness when you are wondering where God is? Serve. God knows your name and your address. No situation can separate us from the all-seeing, all-caring, all-knowing, all-powerful God who created us.
Joseph had asked the butler to remember him, but Genesis 40:23 tells us that he didn’t. Don’t be surprised when the people you help forget you! They will sometimes even turn on you! Do what you do for God and expect nothing in return from people. This is a reminder to all of us to make sure we show gratitude to those who have helped us along the way. Waiting is one of the hardest things we do. God had told Joseph he would be a ruler and his brothers would bow down to him. Where was that? Well, at the beginning of Genesis 41, we read that Pharaoh had a dream but there was no one who could interpret it. It was a “Now what was that guy’s name?” moment for the butler. Everything that has happened in your life is to prepare you so God can promote you. God prepared David through a bear and lion to get him ready for Goliath. God was getting Joseph ready for Pharoah by using the butler and baker. When you don’t see God, you can trust that He is working. Just be patient.
Genesis 41:14 says Pharaoh called for Joseph and “they brought him quickly out of the dungeon.” God can take you from the prison to the palace quickly! The butler forgot Joseph, but God didn’t. When you least expect it, God shows up! Today could be the day that things turn around for you. Today could be the day that your marriage is restored, that your child comes home, that you get that phone call, that your loved one is healed, that good news comes, or your dreams come true. God can change your situation quickly, but you are not going to hurry God up! Joseph’s setback was really a set up. Pharaoh ends up putting Joseph in charge over all of Egypt!
Like the song says, even when you don’t see it, He’s working. Even when you can’t feel it, He’s working. He never stops working! When you don’t see God or feel God, you can still trust God. He is in it all.