Christ chargeth me to believe His daylight at midnight – Samuel Rutherfurd
I am presently in the book of Genesis at the life of Joseph. In chapter 39 we find Joseph purchased by the chief commanding officer to be his slave. At the onset of this chapter following the facts of his destitute situation (slavery and loss of family) we read the statement, “The Lord was with Joseph…” Gen 39:2 (CSB).
One can read this and conclude that this now means great wonderful things will accompany Joseph’s life. The vindication of blessings after mistreatment. The mental mantra we tell ourselves to “self qualify” the hardships we experience.
It would not be a far off assumption because the verse continues with the success Joseph experienced in his labour and efforts while in the household. The evident working of God in Joseph’s life was so visible that a pagan ruler could not only see it but acknowledge it and elevate him because of it.
It is definitely daylight in the life of Joseph – as much as we can call being in slavery and betrayal by family daylight. However, accused of wrongdoing with Potiphar’s wife Joseph is imprisoned and loses the ranking, good fortune and good name he had. Wasn’t the Lord supposed to be with Joseph?
…”But the Lord was with Joseph”.. is the next headliner verse at the beginning of the section that speaks on Joseph’s new status in life. As prisoner, wrongly accused and in an even lower place in the natural, the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph and the warden saw and made Joseph a leader.
And so began the questions. Not necessarily at God but in consideration of what I was seeing to understand what it means that the Lord is with us.
- The Lord being with us does not stop mistreatment, loss, or hardships.
- The Lord being with us does not mean life won’t get seemingly worse.
- The Lord being with us can give us favour in difficult circumstances.
- The Lord being with us points others to Him.
- The Lord being with us allows us to have daylight in our midnight.
The Lord being with us means that like the psalmist I can say “You are good and You do what is good..”, no matter what. Not because of the evidence of material blessings but because God’s purposes are at play in all experiences, and His promise to be with us is reliable.
I am tempted to make this promise of the Lord being with me be about me and how God works for me. But bigger than my comfort and goodwill, the reality of the Lord being with us is more indicative of His own faithfulness and goodness – His character and His glory. In His mercy and goodness this glory He receives comes with good things for us, sometimes here on earth and other times in the life to come.
We know the rest of the story. Joseph’s gifts were used to help one who forgot him, and then in a turn of events His gifts brought about a change. I rejoice in this and feel hopeful. I am grateful that God’s bigger plan for His people and the individual part that Joseph played in a promise made to his ancestors Abraham years ago, was manifesting in Joseph’s placement as second in command. God’s plans brought joy in his place of affliction. But I am reminded as Joseph said in the end that it wasn’t about Joseph but about God’s bigger will and purpose.
It was Joseph who said, “…Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:19-20
The Lord was with Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph accomplishing a greater outcome. Because Joseph knew this he was able to grow in obedience, humility and let go of offense. The prayer of our hearts should always be in this place. His will, no matter the outcome. Chinese missionary Betty Scott Sam had a prayer that writer and missionary Elisabeth Elliot wrote in her Bible. Both women experienced loss and heartache. Betty to the point of execution and Elisabeth with the loss of two husbands early in her marriage.
Their prayer of surrender reveals a life submitted and in the submission they can see God’s good in every dark place. It reads as follows and I pray will be the prayer of your own heart –
” Lord I give up all my plans and purposes,
all my desires and hopes
and accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.
Use me as Thou wilt,
Send me where Thou wilt,
And work out Thy whole will in my life
at any cost now and forever.
Giving up everything – outcomes, experiences, journeys – allows us to be able to do as we are charged which is to see the evident grace of God, the ever presence of God and His Sovereign will in all we experience, even in the midnight.