Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (Genesis 39:20-21)
Isn’t it a bit odd that the Bible speaks of God’s mercy and favor upon Joseph in the same passage that records he was sent to prison falsely accused? Obviously, it served God’s purpose that Joseph should go to prison — some commentators say he was there for 12 years. This was in addition to being hated and betrayed by his own brothers because of the favor of God upon his life. Remember that when you ask for God’s favor upon your life. But remember this also; all of his misfortunes put him in the right place at the right time.
For a baby to be born, it has to be positioned to go through the travail of childbirth. There is no birth if there is no labor. Likewise, Joseph had to endure intense suffering in order to be in the right place at the right time that his family might be saved. If he had not gone to prison he would not have met the cupbearer. Without the cupbearer, how could he have been called to interpret Pharaoh’s dream? If that had not happened, how could he have been in position to save all of Israel? Thus we are to understand that suffering is a prerequisite to glory. Messiah acknowledged this concept when speaking of His suffering.
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25)
And if He set the standard for how God promotes His people, we shouldn’t expect that it will be any different for us. Paul said this:
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Messiah, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:17-18)
There is no escaping it — God’s purposes for His people are to thrive and be a light to others. In order to attain this lofty goal we are often called upon to suffer. In other words, the suffering we must endure provokes us to die to our flesh and desires, that His Spirit within us may be full. When that occurs we will find that, instead of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, we are right where God wanted us to be all along.
Blessings and Shalom,