From the Prison to the Palace
I love art. When I was in my early 20's, I used to love going to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). I loved all the rich history and ancient worlds you could just get lost in. My favorite was anything that had to do with ancient Egyptian history. The mummies fascinated me. It was a time that I couldn't wrap my mind around. I would have loved to have gone into Archaeology and have gone on a dig somewhere, trying to unearth some amazing artifact.
When I was in Middle School, I did a project and presentation on Egypt. I even made a sculpture out of clay depicting what it may have looked like to dig up such an artifact. I was so proud of it as I took my parents to the presentation to show them. I think back on that time and it's no wonder that I loved reading stories from the Bible as a child. My imagination took over as I pictured what it might have looked like in the Garden of Eden or what the landscape may have been where the Israelites marched through the desert for 40 years.
One story has always captured my imagination. It is the story of Joseph. The account of Joseph's life in Genesis 37-45 resonates in my soul. Joseph's story has been the backdrop of my life even as early as when I was visiting that museum as a young twenty-year-old. The images lured me into a past that I knew nothing of. It intrigued me because of how I've always seen parallels in my own life to Joseph's. He dreamed of adventures from a young age while tending to the tedious and mundane jobs he was assigned to and instead of having those dreams become a realization, he was detoured into a life that looked very different than what he had imagined.
My early years before marriage were not spent as many young people do. I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy those fun college days. In my first year, I had to abruptly move out on my own and it became necessary for me to work full-time to support myself. Although it was a difficult time, I enjoyed NYC life. As I look back though, I can trace every event that was orchestrated by God as all of my needs were provided for. I learned so many valuable lessons the hard way, needing to grow up fast.
I can see the same thread run through Joseph's early years. He was young, foolish and full of himself. As his jealous brothers sold him into slavery, little did he know that it would be just the beginning of his journey. He developed his gifts and talents as he lived as a slave. Instead of being disappointed by the turn of events in his life, Joseph chose to hone these skills as he humbly served. God was with Joseph and he succeeded in everything he did in his Egyptian master's home. Even after the fall-out over the accusations from his master's wife and being thrown into prison, Joseph still prospered by ministering to others. He found himself in the company of Pharaoh's chief baker and cup-bearer. The gifts and skills God gave Joseph were still used in the prison when he interprets the dream of each of the Pharaoh's men. He served God faithfully and honestly wherever he found himself. This aspect of Joseph's character always spoke to me.
I have learned the valuable lessons taught by Joseph's story; to be found faithful in whatever place in life you are. God brought him from the prison to the palace, albeit after numerous years of character-building. One other lesson I've kept close to my heart was how Joseph never tried to promote himself. He may have learned that lesson the hard way because of how his brothers were jealous of him because he was a boastful teenager. Years in hardship will teach you everything about humility. Realize that God does not want us to have to be in the "prison" forever to learn these lessons but he will use that time for our benefit. When we come out of our "prison" moments, we come out with the wisdom and knowledge that we can use for His purposes for our lives.
The fact that Pharaoh takes Joseph from the prison to become his leading authority and then becomes the savior of nations is humbling and awe-inspiring to say the least. God promotes on His timeline, not ours.
I am truly loving this stage of life I am in. I love being mom to 3 young adults. As I look back on all the years that I have felt like Joseph, wanting the dreams of adventure but having to go through the years of learning through the simple and hard moments of life, I am humbled. I know and am grateful that God is not finished with me yet.