Not only was Joseph sold into slavery, he was put in prison. Wrongly accused. Hardly the vision for his future.
But God was with him, the Bible says more than once (Genesis 39, verses 2, 21 and 23).
We see his story in the half hour it takes to read chapters 37 and 39-50. But from the day young Joseph saw his family for the last time to the day he saw his brothers again was a period of over 25 years.
The names of his sons reveal his misery (Genesis 41:50-52). How he must have cried in those early years, confused by the sudden turn of events. Even when he asked the butler to speak up for him in court, nothing changed.
Did he wonder if God was mad at him?
Lately I’ve cried, too, asking God, Are You mad at me? Why do You bless my work, but not me personally? Why aren’t things working out at home, in my family? Why does everything have to be so hard? I don’t understand!
Actually, He has answered some of my other prayers and is blessing my family. But there are a few really personal prayers that He is not answering.
(I’ve chosen to believe He wants me to pray more. Keep praying… persevere… trust in Me… delight in Me, and I will give you the desires of your heart…)
There’ve been hints, though:
When You don’t move the mountain I’m wishing You would move, when You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when You don’t give the answers as I cry out to you, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You (song by Lauren Daigle, Michael Farren).
Sounds like I’m not the only one wondering why my prayers go unanswered, why He’s telling me No, or why He’s mad at me.
After months/years (yes, years) of praying for some of these issues specifically, one Sunday morning it was my turn to serve as hostess for our church services. The last Sunday of that month and minutes before the last message in a series about Jesus as King. Since announcements are given before the message, I had no idea what was coming.
So there I was, on stage telling everyone how much I enjoyed the series, and how I hoped they were blessed by it like I was, and it’s available at our church website and on the church app.
A few minutes later I sat in the pew wide-eyed.
Because God was mad.
(The message title was, Thy Will — yep, another hint.)
And God was making it loud and clear that I needed to submit in some areas and stop ignoring Him.
I groaned. He’s talking to ME.
Then our pastor, a close friend and strong supporter of our ministry, started reciting the words to that song…
I groaned again. Oh, crud. You’re not gonna play that song, are you? PLEASE don’t play that song!
But of course he played that song. He had been a worship leader, was still a musician, still a lover of music. We’ve been on stage together, we’ve led worship together.
And on this particular day, God knew His words wouldn’t sink in without that song…
(Did I mention, this pastor’s messages are planned months in advance?!)
I’m so confused, I know I heard You loud and clear. So I followed through, somehow I ended up here… Thy will be done, Thy will be done… Thy will be done…
Then the thought, Crud! In half an hour I have to stand up there in the second service, with a smile on my face telling my church family what a great message series this has been…
Actually, that wasn’t in the pastor’s notes — I added it, because last Sunday that’s how I felt.
But not this Sunday.
I could leave that part out… or I could just leave.
Dear God, can I tell him to find someone else to host the second service? I need out of here.
Whoa! Whose rebel’s heart is this?!
I knew… I’d been praying lately, God, I know I’m a wretch. Please forgive me.
But an hour later I’d be griping and resisting all over again.
Today He wanted me to know without any doubt, that He is not okay with me being a wretch. And that He’s not happy with me for thinking He might be.
I’m not Samson. That guy prayed only self-serving prayers, and God answered them. Because God had a specific plan for him.
But I’m not Samson. (And I don’t want to be a Samson!) Thankfully, if I cooperate, God has a different plan for me. He isn’t letting this rebel heart get too comfortable.
I’m a ministry leader, a nonprofit leader, a semi-retired pastor’s wife… a rebel’s heart is not allowed.
In this experience God wants to imprint this truth on my heart and mind, like He did with Jacob. Joseph’s father would never forget the wrestling match with God that resulted in a promised blessing — his limp served as an ever-present reminder.
Joseph endured hard things, endured long sleepless nights and long arduous days, and cried many tears. But God was with him.
Honestly, I want to be a Joseph. Without the tears, if possible?
Back to the story… we know in the end when God’s plan was revealed, everything made sense.
I’m still in the in-between stage — not much makes sense right now. God gave me dreams early in my adult life, showing me decades ago that He had plans, for my years as a young pastor’s wife and mom, and later when our kids were grown.
But I had no idea it would look like this… with hard days and long nights. And so much struggle in between.
Be assured — when God gets mad, there’s a good reason. Oh, how He wants His best for me! And Oh, what a rebel I am when I insist on my own way.
Sometimes God gets mad. But His anger is a sign of His love. Don’t misinterpret it. Don’t resist it.
Thy will be done.