Joseph. He was the beloved and (blatantly) favored son, who was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and ultimately became the second most powerful man in ancient Egypt. An additional detail of Joseph’s story is his God given ability to interpret dreams. This ability was the vehicle God used, in line with His purpose and timing, to position Joseph so that he could save life and preserve the family of Israel .
I have known this story known since childhood and recently read again the part of the story in which Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s two dreams. You can read the full account of the dreams in the 41st chapter of Genesis but I will share the interpretation here.
“Listen very carefully: seven years of great abundance will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but afterward seven years of famine and hunger will come, and [there will be such desperate need that] all the great abundance [of the previous years] will be forgotten in the land of Egypt [as if it never happened], and famine and destitution will ravage and destroy the land. 31 So the great abundance will become forgotten in the land because of that subsequent famine, for it will be very severe.(Genesis 41:29-31, AMP)
As previously stated, I have known this story since childhood but it was in the recent reading of Joseph’s story that I “discovered” something new. Or should I say, my eyes were opened to a truth that was always there? This is what I “discovered” – Sometimes the ugly and hard experiences of life can eradicate the evidence and memory of the beautiful and good in our lives. But God has a plan for all seasons of our lives and, as articulated in the well known and oft quoted verse, Jeremiah 29:11, His plan is for our well-being and not for calamity, to give us a future and a hope. Our ability to trust His plan, however, rests on our knowledge of the unchanging nature of His character.
In the seasons of abundance, “the good seasons,” He gives the provision which prepares us to survive in the difficult times when loss and scarcity abound. We need His wisdom and guidance so that we do not squander during times of abundance that which is designed to sustain us in difficult times. In addition, we can be sure that He is also with us in difficult times and, like He did for Joseph when he was a slave in Potiphar’s house and again when he was in prison, God enables us to thrive in difficult seasons and also help others. Seasons change but God remains the same.