‘The LORD was with him [Joseph]; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder. So the warder put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.’ (vv21–22)
Adjusting to a slave’s life, Joseph made himself useful to Potiphar, who entrusted everything he owned to his care. Things were looking up; was God with him? Then tragedy when, honourably avoiding Potiphar’s wife’s advances, he was entrapped in a lie and paid the price. Offering no voice in his defence (compare Isa. 53:7), he’s discredited and imprisoned. Again, Joseph loses everything. With time to reflect, he somehow retains confidence in God who also keeps faith with him through the prison warder’s favour.
Working with people for whom tragedy has struck is challenging. Whilst empathy is helpful, we can never know the depths of their emotional and psychological pain, silenced by life’s injustice. I’ve walked with those who experience a series of tragedies, where one would seem sufficient. Yet, God operates from different criteria because for Him the essence of our wellbeing is primarily fully to know His presence. Circumstance cannot determine wholeness; only the nature of our encounter with God does that.
Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from this once we have found our footing in Christ by faith (Rom. 8:38–39). When wounded by tragedy we are invited to look to God and entrust what looks little more than a shattered and unbearable future into His hands. The reality of the prison of present circumstance is real, but can we find the courage to entrust ourselves to God’s provision when behind bars? This is the decision Joseph took, and God met him in his prison cell. Can you find God in your darkest moments?
Scripture to consider: 1 Sam. 21:10–22:20; Lam. 3:49–60; Luke 13:1–9; John 16:19–33.
An action to take: Do your circumstances determine your view of life and yourself? What steps can you take to find God within your circumstances?
A prayer to make: ‘Lord, in my darkest dungeon please may I find Your light of hope. Amen.’