A Plan in the Prison

“Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were locked up. But there in jail God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; he put him on good terms with the head jailer. The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners—he ended up managing the whole operation. The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.” Genesis 39:20-23 (MSG)

Joseph–in prison???  How could THAT be part of the plan???

He had it made as a young boy. He was the favorite of his father. He sported a snazzy colorful coat. He had dreams of his family bowing down before him. Life was looking good for J-man.

Who would have thought that in order for God to fulfill THAT dream planted in Joseph’s heart, that Joseph would be sold as a slave, become a servant in an Egyptian’s household, be wrongly accused, and put into prison?

THAT was the PLAN that would eventually lead to Joseph becoming second in command of Egypt?

Isn’t that like so many of us though? We feel like God put a dream in our hearts. We have passions, ambitions, and talents. We set out on the path to fulfill those dreams. Then the unexpected happens. Life happens. Plans are changed. We find ourselves on a road we never thought we would walk down. Maybe it was due to our own failures and mistakes. Maybe someone else hindered us. Maybe it was due to circumstances completely out of our control. Whatever it is/was…we find ourselves in a “prison” we never expected to be in. And we ask ourselves how THIS could be part of God’s magnificent plan for our lives?

It’s hard. Really hard. No one wants to be in a “prison.” I sure don’t. And I certainly don’t have all the answers and won’t even try to pretend to. Some answers I don’t think we will understand until we get to heaven one day.  But the Lord has been showing me some things about the hardships we face in life.

There are some powerful lessons that we can only learn in the prisons of life.

When Joseph was flaunting his colored coat and bragging about his dreams to his brothers, he didn’t have what it took to be 2nd in command of a nation yet. But he would learn. The prison would become his classroom.

The prisons of life are often tests. God is watching to see what we will do when we are there? Will we STILL be faithful and follow hard after Him? Will we use our gifts and talents to the best of our ability—even if we are not in the places or positions where we want to be?

One HUGE attribute Joseph portrayed in his life was faithfulness. He was faithful to honor and obey God no matter where he was. As a servant in Potiphar’s household, he was faithful. He did his job there to the best of his ability. He took care of the things he was responsible for, and God blessed him. Then in prison, he did the same. Sure, that had to be difficult. He was there because of a false accusation, but those were the cards he was dealt, and he CHOSE to be faithful regardless. He stood out so much with his attitude and leadership ability, that the prison ward trusted him with everything in the jail.

Like Joseph, I believe that God wants us to be faithful HERE and NOW. Yes, even in the “prisons” we might find ourselves in.

Then when we have been found faithful HERE, other doors will open. As hard as it might be to understand, He has us where we are for a reason.

He’s doing something BIG in us NOW to prepare us for greater things in the future. He’s working IN us here, so He can work THROUGH us there.

But we can’t get THERE unless we are faithful HERE.

Isn’t that the greatest KIND of work? Everything good that flows FROM us must first come from God’s work IN US. Our greatest impact will often flow out of the most difficult broken places in our lives.

He wants us to trust and obey Him wholeheartedly–RIGHT NOW. Then whatever He has prepared for us, will flow from that.

Joseph had the gift of leadership and interpreting dreams. He didn’t hold back and wait to use his gifts when he became 2nd in command of Egypt. His chose to use his gifts in prison.

I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick called “Crash the Chatterbox” Part 6. He was preaching about our perspective and how we should look at the things that happen in our lives that we consider “failures.” Here’s what he shared.

We think that the proof that God is working in a situation is that it succeeds according to our original plan. Not always. God is able to take ALL THINGS-successes, failures, even relationships that fail, and work them ALL for good in our lives.

God can do some of His greatest work in our biggest failures.

Sometimes the way God leads us forward doesn’t look like a straight line. Sometimes it’s the stuff that you pick up back there, WHERE YOU DIDN’T PLAN TO GO, that will enable you to do what God has for you in the place you haven’t gotten to yet.

And when you get there, you will KNOW that it was Him who brought you through.

Who knows, maybe that thing that brought you here, where you never wanted to be, may be the very thing that you need to sustain you when you get to where He wants you to go.

Trust Him. He has a plan for your life. He even has a plan in the prison.

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