“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).
Have you had a season of life where every day seems like a bad day? I sold small accident policies in rural Virginia for a while. I was newly married and only got paid when I sold policies to farmers and others that lived in the country. I drove many miles to be rejected. Every day seemed like a bad day.
Remember Joseph’s story in the Bible? How many bad days did he endure?
Joseph went from being his father’s favorite son to being thrown in a pit and sold to traveling traders for a few coins. Perhaps Joseph, strong in his faith, responded well in the first days of his crisis.
But his bad days continued as Joseph bumped along toward Egypt. Even still, I can still see Joseph still thinking well about God: “God has a plan. God will get me through this.”
Potiphar purchases Joseph and things finally look up. Joseph’s faithful service is rewarded with responsibility for everything in his master’s household. Joseph may have happily thought, “God sees me. It won’t be long before I’m back at home.” But along came Potiphar’s wife with her sinful desires for Joseph. Although he refused her, she accused Joseph of seduction, and Joseph went to prison.
Even while suffering unjustly in jail, Joseph faithfully served God and again was put in charge of everything. But as days turned to years, Joseph’s hope had to tire.
Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants in prison. Pharaoh’s baker would be executed, but Pharaoh’s butler would be restored to his position. As Joseph was used of God, his hope was reborn. He would get released from prison––eventually. But he was forgotten for two more years. If Joseph was marking days, he would have slashed seven hundred and thirty more marks before Pharaoh had his dream.
Joseph was thirty years old when he was brought before Pharaoh. He spent all of his twenties in Egypt as a slave and a prisoner. He had thirteen years’ worth of bad days.
Of course, God gave Joseph the wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and the skill to create a plan to deal with the famine that the dreams foretold. Of course, Joseph was elevated to second ruler of Egypt. Of course, Joseph’s preparations saved the day for Egypt and the surrounding nations, including Joseph’s family back in Israel.
God was working out a plan all along. Joseph arrived at that same conclusion. When his brothers begged for his mercy after his father had died, Joseph responded well. You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.
But how is it be possible to maintain hope in a prolonged trial? You must keep remembering God. God is wise. He has a plan and he is working that plan. God’s plan is ultimately good, even if it involves even faithful individuals suffering lots of bad days in a row. Remember Joseph.
Make this prayer your own. Personalize it. Pray it over and over until it flows from your heart of faith. May the Lord help you remember him and his promises. May he help you remember the good plan that he is working. May he fill your heart with faith.
A Prayer of Hope
O Lord, my difficult days seem endless. My hope feels drained.
Behind the dark days Joseph endured, you were working a bright plan. Like a tapestry, littered with chaotic knots of contrasting colors, your plan was a masterpiece of redemption. You rescued Joseph, and you used his wise provision to save his family––the family line through which Jesus would come.
Help me remember that you are working. Help me believe in spite of what I see and feel. Amen.
By John Crotts