“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you’ ” (Genesis 41:39-40).
When you are experiencing challenging trials in your life, have you ever wondered what God is doing to help? Is He doing anything or just letting you endure your challenges all by yourself?
During such times, if you have questioned how God is acting on your behalf, you are not alone. For example, King David stated, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2). It is understandable for us as humans, who have limitations in our understanding of all things, to wonder what God is doing to help us?
Joseph experienced challenging trials in his life. He had been sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37:28). Later, he is cast into prison after being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:20). Again, he is forgotten by the chief butler, whose dream he had interpreted, as the chief butler fails to mention his name to Pharaoh to request that he consider Joseph’s case (Genesis 40:14-15, 23). As Joseph continues to faithfully serve God and honor Him by his godly living, Joseph must have questioned: “God, what are you doing to help me and why am I suffering all of this?”
However, even though he did not necessarily know what good God was going to accomplish through the trials Joseph was enduring, it appears Joseph was aware that God’s blessings were upon him. After all, he had gained initially gained great favor in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:2-5). He had even gained favor in the eyes of the keeper of the prison who committed to Joseph’s hand the well-being of the prisoners (Genesis 39:21-23). I imagine Joseph knew God was at work on his behalf, but was puzzled as he thought: “What exactly is God trying to accomplish in my life?”
Two years after he had interpreted the chief butlers dream (Genesis 41:1), as Joseph was trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together, he receives word that he needs to get cleaned up, shaved, and put on some new clothes. He is being called up to see Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14). Pharaoh had a dream, and he had heard that Joseph can interpret it (Genesis 41:1-13). Joseph stands before Pharaoh, interprets the dream about the upcoming famine, and advises Pharaoh on how to prepare for it (Genesis 41:15-37). The pieces of the puzzle of how God was using these trials Joseph was enduring to accomplish some good, must have begun to come in place in Joseph’s mind, when, as the opening verses above indicate, Pharaoh tells Joseph he will make him ruler over Egypt to prepare for this famine (Genesis 41:39-40). In fact, later, when Joseph’s brothers stand before him and he reveals himself to his brother, Joseph says to them, “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:7-8).
The account of how God worked in Joseph’s life reminds me God is accomplishing His Will in my life as well, even though I may not know all He is doing. Today, as I endure whatever challenges or trials that may come my way, I will remember that behind the scenes of what I see, God is at work!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).