Now if we left the story there, it would seem that all was lost. Aaahhh, but with God things are not always as they seem. No, Joseph found himself in the courts of Potiphar, in Egypt. He rose to a place of leadership and was given great responsibility in Potiphar's house. He had grown into a man, a very handsome man at that. And Mrs. Potiphar had her eye on him. She tried her best to seduce him, but when Joseph fled, leaving his cloak behind, she cried "foul" and Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. Knocked down again for no fault of his own. In fact, he was trying to do what was right when this happened to him. Time stood still for Joseph. Til one day he interpreted the dreams of a baker and a butler. The butler was released and Joseph made him promise that he would put in a good word for him with Pharaoh. But....I guess he forgot. Because day after went by and no one came for Joseph.
Now you would think after all that had happened to Joseph over approximately 12 or 13 years, he would have possibly decided that God had forgotten him, that God didn't care, that God could not be trusted, that Heaven was closed and God was silent. But....that was not the case.
Chapter 41 of Genesis, "Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream". Two years after the butler had been released and made Joseph the promise. And suddenly they were coming for Joseph. They cleaned him up and brought him before Pharaoh because Pharaoh had very disturbing dreams that no one had been able to interpret. Then the butler remembered Joseph. "Oh! Hey! I know a guy...."
When before Pharaoh what do you think Joseph said? Did he brag on his unusual abilities? Did he deny that he had helped the butler? No. He said "Not I, but God. God will set Pharaoh's mind at ease." (Gen. 41:16 Msg) As Max Lucado described it "Joseph emerged from his prison cell bragging on God, Jail time didn't devastate his faith; it deepened it." (You'll Get Thru This by Max Lucado)
Max goes on "Joseph's story appeared to stall out in Chapter 40. Our hero was in shackles. The train was off the tracks. History was in a holding pattern. But while Joseph was waiting, God was working. He assembled the characters. God placed the butler in Joseph's care. He stirred the sleep of the king with odd dreams. He confused Pharaoh's counselors. And at just the right time, God called Joseph to duty.
To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to 'rest in the Lord and wait patiently upon Him...not fret'" Psalm 37:7
Yes, it appeared that Joseph had been forgotten by not only his brothers but God as well. It seemed that God was silent for all those years, leaving Joseph to fend for himself. According to Max, "In the chaos called 'Joseph's life', I count one broken promise, at least two betrayals, several bursts of hatred, two abductions, more than one attempted seduction, ten jealous brothers, and one case of poor parenting. Abuse. Unjust imprisonment. Twenty four months of prison food. Mix it all together and let it set for 13 years and what do you get? The grandest bounce back in the Bible! Jacob's forgotten boy became the second most powerful man in the world's most powerful country. The path to the palace wasn't quick and it wasn't painless, but wouldn't you say God took this mess and m de it into something good?"
Joseph's story gives us all hope! It reminds us that while we wait, God works. We may not see it. We may not see ANY evidence that God is at work. But, that does not mean He isn't! In those 13 years of slavery, hardship, loneliness, abandonment, imprisonment and being wrongly accused, God never left him. Quite the contrary. God was preparing him for one of the greatest roles of his life! He was going to save God's people from starvation. He was going to bring them all down to Egypt, also part of God's BIG picture. The proud, arrogant boy in the rainbow jacket was not ready for that role. It took 13 years to make him into the man he needed to be to handle that responsibility. But make no mistake! Though God may have seemed silent, He never left Joseph. And, what's more, Joseph knew it. How do we know? Listen to what he says to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 "You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result--the survival of many people."
Remember this. God may be silent, but God is never inactive! He is always working, always with you and always faithful to His plans and promises. So trust in Him as Joseph did. Pray and wait for God to act.
"Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5,6