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Genesis 41:1–13 ‘In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings.”’(vv8–9)

Providence means being subject to God’s influence. Historically, people have used providence to explain what others see as mere chance. Recognising God as the source of life, I am a great believer in providence; it’s one reason we can live with hope despite many contrary experiences. By God’s providence, the cupbearer remembers Joseph’s kindness on hearing Pharaoh’s troubling dreams. The way God works His purpose out lies beyond human fathoming. Joseph had no ability to change his circumstances – not until God moved. Joseph is figuratively brought back from the dead by God’s providential grace. In an instant age, where virtually anything is a swipe away, the concept of providence is hard to grasp. 

Enduring a situation we neither enjoy nor want is trying. Yet, there is something in the providential process that is intended to support us to come to terms with ourselves within our situation. Joseph was forced to wait two full years before the cupbearer remembered his promise to his fellow inmate (Gen. 40:23). I recently visited a prison. Listening to some of the inmates I understood that, with endless amounts of time on their hands locked in cells, the time between making a request and its fulfilment sometimes felt like an eternity. This emotion was intensified owing to the fact they had no direct control over their situation. In a similar way, as prisoners of the Lord, we need patience when waiting to see God’s purpose blossom. Trusting in providence is an act of the will and requires grit and determination.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 41:9–40; Isa. 14:24–27; Rom. 8:26–31; Philem. 1.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you cope with waiting for God to respond in difficult times?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to keep trust alive when circumstances are tough. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.