Facing the Facts While Clinging to God's Promises

believing god can i trust god confidence in god devotions faith fear and faith god's got this hope peace Jan 09, 2024

If I could have visited Joseph about 6 months into his prison sentence, I would have asked him if he still believed God's promises. 

"Joseph, what do you make of all those dreams God gave you when you were a boy? Do you think you misinterpreted them? Was God maybe messing with you? Were those the musings of a naive boy--simply lofty dreams, far-fetched and out of touch with reality?"

I love the telling of this portion of the biblical story in the movie Joseph King of Dreams. In that telling of the story, Joseph's days in the dungeon are long enough for him to have time to grow a tree. But all the while that he's tending to that tree, he's singing this song, 

… I thought I did what's rightI thought I had the answersI thought I chose the surest roadBut that road brought me here
… So, I put up a fightAnd told you how to help meNow just when I have given upThe truth is coming clear
… You know better than IYou know the wayI've let go the need to know whyFor you know better than I
… If this has been a testI cannot see the reasonBut maybe knowing I don't knowIs part of getting through
… I try to do what's bestAnd faith has made it easyTo see the best thing I can doIs put my trust in you
… For you know better than IYou know the wayI've let go the need to know whyFor You know better than I
… I saw one cloud and thought it was a skyI saw one bird and thought that I could followBut it was you who taught that bird to flyIf I let you reach me, will you teach me?
… For you know better than IYou know the wayI've let go the need to know whyI'll take what answers you supplyYou know better than I
(Songwriters: Cainon Lamb / Taurian Osbourne / Anthony Randolph / Zorenzo Smith / Nehemie Celestin
Better Than I lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., Cainon's Land Music Publishing, Dwa Songs)
We don't know how long Joseph was in prison, but it was long enough to have risen to a position of responsibility, then to have an encounter with Pharaoh's chief taster and baker, and 2 more years after that. The Bible tells us that he was 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery and 30 when he became 2nd only to Pharaoh. Between 17 and 30 he served in Potipher's house, also long enough to rise to a position of power and responsibility, but not as long as he could have because he rejected the advances of Potipher's wife (which landed him in prison based on her false accusation that things were the other way around). So the rest of his 13 years were spent in prison. 

Talk about a guy who never got what was due him! At every turn, Joseph seemed to get the exact opposite of what God had promised him.

And yet, he rolled with the punches and kept his faith in God. 

Were you like Joseph when you were a child?  Sure, you might've never seen sheaves of grain bow down to you; nor did you see the sun, moon and stars gather round to pay you homage, but didn't you dream some dreams?

As a child you most likely trusted God with all your heart. You took Him seriously when He told you He had a plan for your life that; a plan that included hope and prosperity (Jeremiah 29:11). You fully anticipated success, significance and security. But when you were young, you didn't realize that the plans God had for you delivered prosperity in unusual ways. Nor did you understand that there would be seasons of your life when hope might be all you had.

They told you the story of Joseph in Sunday School. You pasted colorful strips of construction paper to the outline of his robe, and learned all about how his own brothers tossed him into a pit, then sold him to slavery. But it was just a story...

...until you found yourself in your own pit.

You know those pits--terrible places where you end up because of what's been done to you--not because of what you've done. It wasn't until I was an adult trying to make sense of the pit I was in, that I realized how devastating that day had to be for Joseph. 

Why, after all that God had promised, was he in this pit? 

Then, he got out of the pit, only to be sold into slavery to the Ishmaelites. You know who the Ishmaelites are don't you? They are the "not God's plan" descendants of Ishmael; Hagar's son--the child that Sarah thought up to help God get His promise to Abraham fulfilled--the one that wasn't God's fulfillment of His promise. 

Of course it had to be the Ishmaelites who took Joseph to Egypt! What could have been more contrary to the promises God made him?! How did Joseph keep from thinking he'd been abandoned by God?

One of the hardest things about walking with God on this journey through life, is keeping the faith when His ways seem to take us in the opposite direction of His promises.

But isn't that what faith is? "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). 

God's promises can heckle us if we're not careful. They heckle us when we let our confidence fall short of the glory of God; when we put our hope and assurance in what we do see instead of what we don't see. 

Life gave Joseph multiply opportunities to lose his faith. His family betrayed him. His friends slandered him. Circumstances beyond his control stole precious time from him. And yet through it all he kept his eyes on God.

Joseph faced the facts while clinging to God's promise. And God eventually delivered him exactly what He'd promised. When Joseph was 39 years old, his brothers came to Egypt. He was most likely 41 when they brought Benjamin and realized who he was. Imagine the satisfaction deep in the heart and soul of Joseph when his brothers bowed down before him.


When Joseph was young, he might've thought that day would be one of exhilaration--just imagine his mean older brothers bowing down to him ! But instead, when that day came, Joseph was deeply moved the Scripture says. I think he was humbled that God would choose him to save his family (along with many others who would have certainly died in the famine). Because of what Joseph had been through, and because of where God had placed him, he understood that those plans God had to prosper him and give him a future were much bigger than him. They were plans that belonged to God, plans to give his entire family a hope and future--plans to give the whole world salvation and redemption (through Jesus in centuries to come), and us eternal life! 

I love the story of Joseph. It's the story of all of us. For life rarely turns out the way you think it ought to. Circumstances give us ample opportunities to lose our faith. I don't know what facts you're facing, but I do know that God's promises are anchored in His Person, and His Person will not let you down.

… For you know better than IYou know the wayI've let go the need to know whyI'll take what answers you supplyYou know better than I.

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