It’s interesting that a number of times in Genesis 39, we read in the Message version of the Bible that, ‘God was with Joseph.’
It’s understandable that throughout the rollercoaster experiences he went through—from his dreams to becoming a favourite, to the pit, to being Potiphar’s right hand guy, to prison, and ultimately to being in charge, etc.—that Joseph might have questioned this repeated statement. If we were in Joseph’s shoes, we probably would have found it difficult to accept that ‘God was with us’ in some of these circumstances.
I remember someone once asking the two-pronged question: ‘What would you be willing to do if you were totally confident that God was with you and you weren’t afraid?’
We need to be encouraged by the fact that God is most powerfully present, even when He seems to be far away. The fact is there are times when He seems absent. Martha said, ‘Lord, if only you had been here...’
The truth is, the person that God wants us to become is rarely produced by a diet of success, success, and more success, but as with the potter, He is shaping us ‘as seemed best to him.’ This is because during these rollercoaster experiences, temptation doesn’t usually go away. For example, it says of Potiphar’s wife that, ‘she came to him day after day.’ Spiritual leaders only appear to be giants to others. In fact, just like everyone else they are desperately in need of God.
When it’s tough, it’s important that we do what God was always challenging the Children of Israel to do, ‘Remember, Remember, and Remember.’ I recall someone once saying something like this, ‘If we don’t find a systematic way to remember God’s past faithfulness, then we’ll have a hard time trusting him with our present and future challenges.’
So, remember, ‘God was with Joseph,’ and He is also with you. In other words, ‘God’s Got Your Back!’
Ian Watson is on the National Leadership Team of the AoG. Prior to this, Ian and his wife, Sue, where senior leaders of the Bridge Church, Bolton, Greater Manchester, Barry and Tina’s home church. Ian is also on our Board of Reference.