Most people sitting in prison cells are there for a good reason. Many of them are being punished for some crime they have committed – their suffering is of their own making! However, on the rare occasion when someone is unjustly thrown into a prison cell your heart goes out to him or her not only because they are suffering, but also because they are being punished for a crime that someone else committed. That must be one of the most difficult situations to deal with. The Bible shows us how to respond when we are treated unjustly. We need go no further than the book of Genesis to discover the depths of one man’s character as he suffered time and again for what apparently looked like no good reason whatsoever! If you look at Joseph he was thrown into prison for a crime he never committed. In fact, he had been faithful, honest and upright and it seems as if God has overlooked all of those wonderful qualities and Joseph finds himself in a prison cell. There are a number of principles we can learn from Joseph’s life. Genesis 37-50 gives us some clear guidelines.
1. God’s Presence is with us in our Pain: The biblical text says over and over, “God was with Joseph.” Even when Joseph thought he had been forsaken God was there. When the situation looks bleakest God is still there. It was in the most difficult times that God was working in Joseph’s life preparing him for what lay ahead. God is with us even in our pain. He is there even when we cannot feel Him.
2. God’s Protection is with us in our Pain: God protected and watched over Joseph even in the darkness of the pit. God protected him from death by bringing merchants who bought Joseph and took him to Egypt. God doesn’t promise that we will never have pain, but He does promise to stand with us in the midst of our agony. God was with Joseph every moment of his suffering and His Hand of protection was clearly on Joseph.
3. God’s Purpose for us will not be Thwarted: Joseph’s brothers thought they had put and end to Joseph’s dreams, but they had not because no one can thwart God’s ultimate plan and destiny for your life. They can try their best, but they will find they are working against God. Ultimately, even the bad situations in Joseph’s life worked out for his good. Think if he hadn’t been thrown into the pit he would never have gone to Egypt. If he had not been unjustly accused he would never have stood before Pharaoh. It was ultimately all of his suffering that led to the deliverance of his family.
I trust this biblical narrative will encourage you today. If you are suffering injustice God knows all about it. As difficult as your situation is, put your complete trust in God. He has a perspective on your situation that you do not have. You have to trust and believe that God is working on your behalf.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,