Last night I watched my two teenagers on stage in their high school’s production of The Crucible, one of my all-time favorite plays.
To advertise the show in a local online newspaper, I wrote the following lines:
Imagine yourself falsely accused of a crime and in the midst of some crazy “witch hunt.”
Imagine yourself as a free person one day and as a convicted criminal about to face the gallows the next.
As I watched the show, I realized that the same could be said about Joseph when he was wrongly accused of “having relations” (love the English Standard Version’s allusions) with Potiphar’s wife and then jailed because of the accusations.
Because of Joseph’s high standards, he would not “have relations” with Potiphar’s wife. His scorning led her to trap him, keep his robe, and then use it to accuse him of forcing himself on her. Joseph landed in jail for a crime that he did not commit.
And I scream, “UNFAIR!”
As we read on in the story, we do not hear of Joseph falling into despair (as I would), we do not hear of Joseph cursing God (as I might want to do), nor do we hear of Joseph turning into a criminal.
Instead, Joseph prospered and was given positions of authority.
Most importantly, though, the Bible (Genesis 39: 20-21) tells us that God was there with Joseph in the prison.
As I heard these words, they vibrated in my heart: the Lord was with him.
I do not live in a prison. I am not bound or falsely accused. But I feel alone. In the middle of a crowded room of people I know and people whom I call friends, I often feel alone, invisible, and overwhelmed with sadness.
Honestly, I have little reason to feel the way I do sometimes. However, because of the biology that makes up who I am and the fallen state in which we all live, I have a tendency to feel in ways that reason should dispel (see my other blog for more information).
The truth is that God is with me. I know this, but I need to be reminded of it.
Joseph had reason to feel despair, but we hear nothing of it from the Biblical account. The Lord was with him in the jail, and I think Joseph knew it, believed it, and lived it. God showed him favor, and Joseph prospered.
While some of my personal despair moments can be explained by a struggle with some minor mental illness and can be medicated into submission, I personally believe that there are times that I do not look to see God in my life and then feel the consequences of that.
It is not that God is not there, but I am not paying Him any mind.
If that is the case, why would I feel the truth that God is with me?
When I spend time reading the Word and praying, I tend to see His presence more clearly in my life. While He does not speak audibly to me, I tend to know that His hand is guiding me.
Does this resonate with you? How does the story of Joseph encourage you to know that God is with you?
Side note: my kids performed in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoatin fall 2012. Though there are several liberties taken with the story, it holds true to the Biblical message of being called.
Take a listen to the song that is sung to portray Joseph’s time in jail (sorry about the scantily clad Donny Osmund, but he really is the best Joseph ever).