Last Sunday I asked my son what he learned in Sunday school. He said, “This guy named Joseph had to go to prison because his brothers were mean to him.”
“That’s quite the paraphrase Bugz (my nickname for him). What do you think that story means?”
“It means, *glaring at his little brother*, always be a good listener for your brother. Or else.”
Later that evening we had the opportunity to talk about prison and what it means to find yourself in hard places. I asked my boys what kind of hard places they are experiencing right now in their lives, and what they had to say was really interesting considering they are so young.
My 7-year-old said, “When your feelings are hurt and you don’t know why.”
My 5-year-old said, “When people are mean to you and you no mean to them.” (Gotta love his English).
How true no matter what your age in life.
Hard places are when you feel trapped by circumstances.
But here’s where it gets good.
“While Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39:21-23
Wait, what? Success in prison? How odd. Yet, how God.
He gives us success in ways and in places we can’t even imagine. What the world calls the worst time of your life, God redeems. What the world defines as a failure in its lowest form, God uses for good and labels it success. What the world labels as hopeless and useless, God makes come alive in flourishing and favorful ways.
Prison is where Joseph developed admin skills.
Prison is where Joseph learned to interpret dreams.
Prison is where Joseph learned to rely on God.
Prison is where Pharaoh found him.
Then God used Joseph’s life in miraculous ways.
The prison places of our lives is where we learn that our greatest strength is found in our weakness. Our eyes, our hearts and our minds are opened to God’s strength moving through us and we know that all glory is credited to Him who makes the prison seasons of our lives come alive.