The Lord was with Joseph? Really?

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Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt (as a slave). Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.

There are two things connected here that challenge our notion of how things should be. On one hand Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers – a terrible thing. And it would get worse before it got better. On the other hand, v.2 says “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…”. If God were truly with Joseph we would expect Joseph to be free, not a slave. Yet as we shall find out later, God had a particular purpose in mind for Joseph, which required Joseph to endure hardship.

Sometimes there is purpose in the difficult seasons of life.

I don’t want to suggest that every time we find ourselves in difficult places it’s God’s will – but sometimes it is. In Joseph’s case he needed to cultivate a greater sense of humility (among other things) before he could be of real use to the Lord. He eventually got there, as we shall see later in Genesis, but it wasn’t pretty.

I expect most of us are going through some form of struggle or difficulty in life right now. What might the Lord be trying to teach you via this hard time? How might it change your perception of hardship if you believed it was ultimately for your good?

Heavenly Father, you use all kinds of experiences to mold and shape us for your service. Sometimes we experience those things as painful and difficult. Give us grace to embrace the hard things so that we might serve you well. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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