In Genesis 41, the Pharaoh had two dreams that warned him of the famine that would soon sweep the whole region. No one in the palace could interpret the dreams, except for Joseph who was still in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Then the chief cupbearer remembered him.
I’ve always read this account with a delicious sense of irony. The guy who would save them all was right there all along, under their noses, suffering an injustice, forgotten by the people who were supposed to help him out of his prison cell. There are so many things to be gleaned from this story, most of them are already clichés to our ears. Let’s venture to mention a few.
First, no suffering is random; each has a divinely appointed purpose. Joseph was in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Mrs. Potiphar accused him of rape when he really just refused to sleep with her. Unknown to Joseph, his imprisonment would soon land him the important job of saving Egypt from famine.
Second, preparation time is not wasted time. Whether in Potiphar’s household or in prison, Joseph showed aptitude for leadership. This prepared him to lead the entire nation face the biggest threat to their survival. When the seven years of famine hit Egypt, Joseph was ready.
Third, people may forget you but God won’t. The chief cupbearer forgot about Joseph after he was restored to his position. He only remembered Joseph when he needed help. How typical of human friendships. The good thing is that God is not as forgetful. He has a plan in place and he remembers you.
The whole saga of Abraham’s family is a goldmine of life lessons and faith boosters. Biblical theologians will tell you how these stories point to God’s bigger plan to bring Jesus into the picture, to fix what’s broken at the Fall of man. That is true. But what is equally true is that these stories also tell us how God is actually deeply involved in the personal details of our lives. He cares about your personal drama too.