and joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. but the Lord was with joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. and the keeper of the prison put joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. the keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. and whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. [genesis 39:20-23]
God’s steadfast love – in the midst of trial
sometimes God saves us out of painful circumstances, and at other times he saves us in the midst of those circumstances. and even when God decides to remove us from our painful circumstances, he often doesn’t do it in our preferred timing. when God says “i am going to remove you, but not yet,” he is inviting us into something perhaps even more beautiful – daily dependence on him, despite not knowing when the deliverance from our circumstances will come.
ultimately, God will not save us from suffering until we enter the kingdom of heaven. this in-between—where we know God will deliver, but do not know when or how; this in-between where we don’t know for sure if he’s going to deliver us from our current suffering or deliver us in the midst of it—this is where faith, intimacy with the Lord, and endurance by the power of the Spirit grow the fullest. this is why james can say “call it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds”! [1:2] we can allow the trials to draw us to Jesus not just for deliverance, but for his comforting, emboldening presence, which will strengthen us to endure all things with joy!
can you see the good news in this? the very things the enemy puts in our path to oppose us become Jesus’ choice instruments of our sanctification, for his glory!
Lord, teach us to run to you in the face of persecution, suffering, and the unknown—not just for deliverance, but for you. you are the one we desire; help us to remember that you are the one for whom we were made! help us to desire your presence and your glory even more than our deliverance.
~ stephen hall