January 18, 2008
GRACE TO ENDURE
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 40
When Joseph saw the cupbearer taken from the prison, he must have thought, Now's my chance! This guy has Pharaoh's ear. He'll get me out of here. We don't know whether Joseph knew what happened to these men, but when their release came within the predicted time, he must have figured that, with God's help, he had given the correct interpretation of the dreams. So he waited hopefully for his opportunity to be released and set free.
Instead of being remembered and rewarded, he was forgotten for two more years. It's easy to overlook that little fact buried in the midst of all these dream sequences and their interpretations. But for two years after the cupbearer left, Joseph remained buried in that dungeon. Notice the emphasis: two full years. Two long, monotonous, miserable years!
What did Joseph think about during that time? The human tendency would be: Will I be on hold forever, Lord? In fact, it seems like You have forgotten me! No, there was none of that. This remarkable man, victimized again and again, continued to wait---to trust---to hope---to lean on God.
Listen to me, victims of mistreatment; more importantly, please listen to God's truth. He has a hundred different messages to give you during a hundred different dungeon experiences. He knows just the right message at just the right time, and all it takes to receive it is a sensitive, obedient, trusting heart. A heart that says, "Lord God, help me now. Right at this moment. Deliver me from my own prison. Help me to see beyond the darkness, to see Your hand. As I am being crushed, remold me. Help me to see You in this abandonment, this rejection." Pray that prayer. Turn your trial into trust as you look to God to tenderly use that affliction, that dungeon, that abandonment for His purpose.
God has not abandoned you. He may be silent, but He has not forgotten you. He never left. He understands the heartache brought on by the evil which He mysteriously permits so that He might bring you to a tender, sensitive walk with Him. God is good, Jesus Christ is real---your present circumstances notwithstanding. My prayer is that He will do for you what He did for Joseph.
May He give you the grace to endure.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.