Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Faith in a Dungeon

Wednesday, May 13, 2020For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing… Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Faith in a Dungeon The passage in Ecclesiastes above speaks of different seasons.  We are all familiar with the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall, but there are many, many seasons in our lives.  They are such a small moment in the grand scheme of our lives, but they can sometimes feel like an eternity!  Some seasons are over way too soon and we enjoy every moment of them.  Then there are other seasons that are just unbearable, and we just don’t know if we can make it through.  These unbearable seasons are unfortunately – or rather fortunately – a necessary part of our lives.  It doesn’t feel fortunate sometimes.  We may experience very painful times in our lives but rest assured, they are painful in the moment, but they are transforming you.  They are part of our journey, part of who God is making us become.  There is always the promise of hope – the next season around the corner.  
Joseph knew a lot about hard seasons.  He went through many hard seasons before he ended up where God had planned for him to be.  One particularly hard season of his life he spent in the dungeon – literally.  He was thrown into the dungeon after being falsely accused of making advances on Potiphar’s wife.  The Bible says that while Joseph was in prison, the Lord was with him and showed kindness to him.  Joseph found favor in the eyes of the warden and he entrusted Joseph with responsibilities, including watching over the king’s cupbearer and chief baker who had been thrown in prison after Pharaoh had gotten angry with them.  The cupbearer and baker both had dreams one night and were perplexed with trying to figure them out.  Joseph interpreted their dreams and they came true within three days exactly as Joseph had said.  As the cupbearer was leaving prison, Joseph asked him to please remember him - But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon. Genesis 40:14-15 The cupbearer did not remember Joseph.  He forgot him completely for TWO years. 
Can you imagine?  How time does drag when we are suffering and we feel forgotten, especially if we feel forgotten by God. Even though Joseph was still in prison, God was still with him and showed him kindness. The cupbearer did remember him when Pharaoh had a dream and wanted to send for wise men to interpret it.  Joseph was brought out of prison and a new season of his life began. 
God uses every season to teach us something, to communicate to us something about Himself, something about His faithfulness, something about His love in sending His Son, something about His strength, something about His power.  If you are in a dungeon season right now, remember that God is with you, and He is getting you ready for what He has planned for you just like He did Joseph. How can this season of life make you a better person, stronger, or ready for God’s purpose? If you don't think much is happening or that God has forgotten you, be faithful to God; keep trusting Him. God is up to something even when we don't see Him working. So I want to encourage you whatever season of life you're in, pain or disappointment, victory or success remember Joseph. Don‘t miss the blessing or fail to see the hand of God in it. Life is a combination of contrasting seasons, pleasure and pain, and it is all for a purpose.  

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