Hindsight is 20/20. When we look back on our lives, we can see the hand of God guiding us, but in the moment, we have a tendency not to see past our current circumstances. It is as if a thick fog has descended upon our lives. For some, this fog is so thick and so overwhelming it feels like we are suffocating in it. Perhaps you have lost your job, you are having marriage problems, or you continue to have a nagging health issue. Whatever it is, you can't see how it will ever get better. I can't help but wonder if Joseph struggled in the same way.
Joseph had a terrible season of life. His older brothers hated him and sold him into slavery. As a slave he flourished, but was then falsely accused of rape, and then thrown into prison. When he was in prison God gave him the ability to interpret a dream of the royal cupbearer, and he thought he had his ticket out of prison, but as we read, the cupbearer forgot him.
I am making an assumption, but I doubt that any of you have ever experienced the pain of what Joseph experienced. Hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, and forgotten about while in prison. Talk about suffocating. Now keep in mind, Joseph was not superhuman. He was a normal person, like you and me. He would get lonely, he would cry, he would doubt. I am guessing that Joseph had many horrifically long nights alone with his thoughts.
Here is the wild part. At no time was Joseph alone. The God of the Universe was with him at every turn. He was with him when he was sold in slavery, He was with him when he was falsely accused, and He was with him when he was forgotten in prison. And not only was God with him, He was using each one of those moments for His purposes.
Eventually, and at the time appointed by God, Joseph's moment came. He was released from prison and given a prestigious job of overseeing the famine in Egypt. Because of the famine, Joseph's family (Jacob and his sons) came to Egypt looking for food. This is what Joseph said to his brothers who sold him into slavery:
“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” - Genesis 45:5-8
Despite all of the terrible things that happened to Joseph, and all of the people he could have blamed, he gave the credit all to God. On top of that, he was not scolding God, but praising Him. He was giving God glory for His providence over the sale of his body, the false accusations, and the languishing in prison. He was able to see the sovereign hand of God with Him at every moment. Was life difficult? Absolutely, but it was only difficult for a moment, and it was for the purposes of the Creator of the Universe, his heavenly Father.
If we have given our lives to Christ, we are no different than Joseph. For we are a part of God's chosen people and are adopted into His family through the blood of Jesus Christ; and when God adopts you, He does not forget you. He is with you every moment of your life, the valleys and the mountains, and not only is He with you He is guiding you. I love how Paul wrote put it in Romans 8:35-37:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.“
My fellow Christian, no matter what you are going through, remember that God has not forgotten you, He is with you and is using you for His glorious purposes. You cancer is for a purpose. Your poverty is for a purpose. Your death is for a purpose. Live with this truth on your heart, and you will be able to rejoice in the midst of your suffering.