Joseph could have been the poster child for hopelessness. Rejected by family, sold into slavery, falsely accused, forgotten and left in prison. Yet, Joseph finds his hope in God. He hopes for a day when God will bring into focus all the blurry details of his life. His hope was not easy or perfect. Yet he seems to daily manages to put his hope in the Lord. In Joseph's story we discover that circumstances are never what they appear to be. Your and my circumstances are seldom what we conclude they are. There can be hope in the midst of hopeless circumstances. For God's child there is hope even in the darkest prison. In life, things seldom turn out the way you hope. But when things do not turn out, this does not mean there is no hope. We must make sure our hope is anchored in God and not what we expected.
There are some very dark moments in my life. In the darkness of the prison of my grief I cry out to God. What I find is that hopelessness is the birthplace of hope. Hope does not need perfect circumstances to exist. As a matter of fact, hope is born in the ugly, dirty and painful maternity ward of sorrow, grief and suffering. That is where the first cry of hope is heard at the sound of God's slap, hope grasp for air and hope begins to breath.
While Joseph was there in prison the Bible says in Genesis 39:21, "The Lord was with Joseph..." What exactly does this mean? Speaking of Joseph the Psalmist writes: "...and he sent a man before them - Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19 till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true." (Psa. 105:17-19) The Hebrew word, translated neck in most translations is the word nefesh or soul. The iron shakels were around his neck but there was a deeper iron shakel on his soul. That is one of the most poinant descriptions of grief I have ever heard. It remained until what was foretold came to pass or until God's promise proved him true. This speaks of the purpose of his testing. God was doing something in Joseph through the painful circumstances of his life. Our hope is not found in perfect circumstances but in the ever present Lord who works all his plans together in and through our lives. (Romans 8:28)
My soul cries for freedom while my God cries for transformation. I feel like I am in a prison of grief. I want freedom. Yet His Spirit says, You might as well embrace what God allows to come your way, because He is transforming you. Iron shakels are on my soul but God is smelting them into iron for my soul. This powerful, painful transformation is the work of God and God alone.
Is. 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.