Pete Gent, the wise-cracking wide receiver of the early Dallas Cowboys teams, once walked by a rookie, slumped over at his locker, studying Tom Landry‘s overly thick and complicated playbook. “Don’t bother reading it, kid,” Gent said. “Everybody gets killed in the end.”
Cynical. Funny. OK, brilliant!
In Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the narrarator actually encourages Joseph while he’s in prison. He tells Joseph not to despair. Don’t give up. He says, “I’ve read the book and you come out on top!”
We don’t have that benefit. Our books aren’t finished yet. The chapters of our lives are written as we live them out every day. And nobody knows exactly what our endings will look like. But the call from our God is to run the race with endurance and faithfulness. Wherever we are. Whatever our circumstance. In great confidence that he is with us.
God is with you. In your place. In your situation. He’s right there with you. Joseph gets thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers. Scripture says God was with Joseph. Joseph is made head over Potiphar’s house. The Bible says God was with Joseph. He’s thrown in prison by Potiphar’s wife. He’s rescued by a forgetful cupbearer. He’s put in charge of all of Egypt. And throughout the story we’re told that God was with Joseph. I’ve counted 27 times, through all the dramatic ups and downs of Joseph’s life, from Genesis 37 through Genesis 50, when it’s made clear that God was with Joseph.
The end of the story makes it crystal clear. It looks like Joseph is being made by Pharaoh. The king of Egypt gives Joseph his new office, his new status, his new robes, his power, his authority, his new name, his new wife. It all comes from Pharaoh. But from the standpoint of the biblical author — and in the view of Joseph himself — it all comes from God.
Joseph is not Pharaoh’s man. He’s God’s man. He’s not Pharaoh’s instrument of economic survival. He’s God instrument of salvation.
I don’t know how your story turns out, friend. I have no idea what you’re going through right now. But I do know God is with you.
“It is very sweet as life passes by, to be able to look back on dark and mysterious events, and to trace the hand of God where once we saw only the malice and cruelty of man.” ~F. B. Meyer