Read Genesis 41:37-57
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).
Joseph had sown his share of tears. About 13 years’ worth, I would guess. It had been that long since his hateful brothers had stripped him of more than just his colorful robe before throwing him into an empty pit and selling him to slavery. A victim of a hate-crime to the nth degree, Joseph knew suffering like few others.
Still, he had the promise of God’s character, the truth of God’s goodness, and the unending presence of very Lord Himself. How many times did Joseph wonder if the promise still held? I wonder how many times he found himself doubting God’s actual presence, even in the midst of the favor he’d found with Potiphar, even in the approval he found with the prison warden. I wonder if Joseph ever cried from the depths of his heart, from the depths of the prison, wondering if he would ever live freely again.
Imagine his eyes adjusting to the light of freedom while he cleaned himself up for Pharaoh. Perhaps squinting from the light of day, Joseph’s emergence into life outside the prison walls probably felt like a harvesting of seeds he’d been sowing for some 13 years. And when Pharaoh put him in charge, signet ring and all, perhaps Joseph recognized the sheaves of abundance, realizing that all of his suffering, all of the hope he’d held onto for all those years, had finally materialized.
But what if the cupbearer had remembered Joseph the minute he returned to Pharaoh’s service? What if Joseph had been found not guilty by Potiphar himself and set free? It’s impossible to say what if, but we can know this: God had a plan for more abundance than Joseph could have ever imagined, including power equal only to Pharaoh himself.
Have you ever wanted to settle for what you think is abundance instead of waiting for what God has in mind? How many times have we grown discouraged because God didn’t free us from our own suffering earlier, only to find out that His plan included more blessing than we could ever have imagined?
We have so much to learn from this Joseph story. So much to learn from this amazing God who always has our best in mind.