Genesis 41:1, "Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River."
While reading my Bible this morning, once again something caught my attention. This time, what stood out was the very first verse I read. This verse may not seem to hold much significance, but what is amazing is that from the end of one chapter (Genesis 40:23) to the beginning of the next chapter (Genesis 41:1) two years have gone by.
There's a funny thing about books that have already been written. We can continue reading whenever we want to find out what happens next. We don't have to wait to see what happens. The story is already written, and all we have to do is turn the page.
What I began thinking about today, though, is that this was Joseph's story. When I open my Bible, all I have to do is turn the page to see what happens next. Joseph, however, had no idea what was going to happen next. I turn the page to find that the cup-bearer finally remembered Joseph. It took me a matter of seconds to read this, but I have to remember that this was two years of Joseph's life.
Joseph didn't have the privilege of knowing what was going to happen next. Here he was in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Some other people were thrown in there who had dreams, and God gave Joseph the interpretation to these dreams. Joseph specifically told them, "And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place." Genesis 40:14.
I get to continue reading to find out what happened, but Joseph had to wait.
Imagine being in his shoes for a moment. You're in a prison. People come in, and they seem to possibly be a way out. You hope that they'll remember you and that somehow you'll be released, but weeks begin to go by. Those weeks turn into months, and months turn into years. You, at this point, probably are feeling quite forgotten. Hope of being freed, I'd imagine, would look slim. You don't know if you'll ever be out of prison.
Now when you read Genesis 41:1, think about the first four words:
"Two full years later..."
All of Joseph's story is actually quite amazing. It's one of my favorite Bible stories. There are so many things we can take from his story and apply to our own lives.
What I learn from this particular section is how we can see that God is writing a story to our lives as well, and just like Joseph, we don't get to see what's going to happen next. This is where faith comes in.
From one chapter to the next in our lives, we may begin to feel like we're like Joseph in the prison. Possibly, we feel forgotten. We may feel stuck. It may seem as if nothing is happening.
In those moments, what is comforting to remember is Joseph's story. The Bible doesn't specify what went through Joseph's mind in those two years. It doesn't say whether or not he felt forgotten. It doesn't tell us if he felt stuck. What the Bible does reveal, though, is that God had not forgotten Joseph in that prison. What may have seemed like a waste of time really was a season where God continued to grow Joseph's faith and his character.
You see, God does know what happens next in the stories of our lives. Our story is already written... it just hasn't been revealed to us yet. Psalm 139:16 says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."
My encouragement for you today is to be like Joseph and be faithful in-between chapters. Remember that you are not forgotten. People may forget you, but God never will. He didn't just remember that Joseph was in the prison. He was with Joseph while he was in the prison. He is with you in-between chapters as well.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As I read through the Bible, it's easy to forget that these people didn't know what was going to happen next. I get to read it and see the whole story, but these stories are the realities of people's lives. Just as they didn't know what was going to happen next, sometimes I'm in-between chapters and don't see what's on the next page either. You've called me to walk by faith and not by sight. My prayer is that You'll grow my faith and character in-between chapters just like you did with Joseph. Help me be faithful to you always no matter what chapter I'm in. In Jesus' Name.