What about Joseph—his father’s pride and joy, the first son born to Jacob’s favorite wife? His jealous brothers sold him into slavery. His brothers! He landed in the Egyptian Potiphar’s household, where his master entrusted him to manage the entire estate. But the lies of Potiphar’s wife sent him to jail. Where was God? Wasn’t Joseph the great-grandson of Abraham, father of Israel, called by God to bring blessings to all people? In prison, Joseph successfully interpreted the baker’s and the cupbearer’s dreams, then was forgotten by the very man he helped. Would anything good ever happen to Joseph? Finally, finally, he interpreted the pharaoh’s dream and became viceroy of Egypt, the second most important man in the country.
For some 20 years, God seemed far from Joseph. But God was present with a plan and purpose for Joseph’s life. We read in Genesis that Joseph’s brothers feared his revenge for selling him into slavery, but he said to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) God used Joseph to keep the promise that Abraham’s descendants would be a blessing “to all people on earth." (Genesis 12:3)
God was watching over Joseph, even in jail; and he watches over us, even when he feels far away. We might think life isn’t fair, as Joseph must have thought when he was in chains or under arrest, but that’s because we miss the big picture. What we know—what the Bible teaches and promises—is that God loves us and wants the best for us, even when he seems hidden and removed. If this is true, some say, why isn’t God more evident in our lives? Perhaps, like Joseph, we have to struggle and persevere and continue to believe in order to realize the great blessings God has in store for us.
When we become Christians, we don't merely choose an eternity in heaven over hell. Rather, we are "born again"; like a newborn child, each of us enters into a new life that we fully inhabit, day-in and day-out. God desires that we pursue a relationship with him every day, in all aspects of life. When we try to live daily life for the sake of his glory, he deems it sacred.