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Waiting For An Answer to Prayer

Have you ever found yourself in a place you never intended to be, wondering how you ended up there? Maybe the question on your mind was more focused on how you could or even would ever get out of those circumstances? Overwhelming debt? A cancelled flight? A lost job opportunity? Divorce court? School loans? A hospital room? An angry neighbor? Or maybe a list of unanswered prayers?

Where is God when the circumstances of life are inconvenient? Where is God when your world comes crashing down around you? Last week we noticed some things about Joseph. Let’s go back that story. Imagine Joseph’s frustration, confusion, and anguish. God revealed to Joseph in two dreams that he would one day rule over his family, preserving the covenant community. God’s plan seemed doomed to fail when Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery. But with the Lord’s favor, Joseph rose to a position of power in Potiphar’s house. Maybe Joseph’s dream emerged as his responsibility over Potiphar’s household increased. But with a prison sentence, that dream seemed once again dashed. God providentially orchestrated events to arrange for Joseph to rise to become the deputy Pharaoh of the superpower of the known world. Man’s evil failures would not foil God’s plan. They never have and never will.

The story of Joseph is a powerful illustration of God’s control over human history. God’s divine plan would succeed. He had chosen a covenant family and in spite of that family’s efforts to destroy God’s elect, God would still fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant through that very family. Just as He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called Abraham’s family to be the conduit through whom He would bless all nations. While the ultimate fulfillment would come in Christ, God used Joseph to reveal Himself as the gracious God of all. He keeps His promises.

The story of Joseph lends itself to at least two important lessons. First, we can learn that there are parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Joseph the blesser and savior could be seen as a forerunner to Jesus the ultimate Blesser and Savior. Second, his story may be one of the greatest examples of God’s sovereignty. God reveals Himself as divinely sovereign over people, nature, and events to affect His intended plan of redemption. The sin and evil in the world will not thwart His story of salvation. While Joseph’s story makes no claims that God will directly intervene in every situation, it does remind us that in the end, God brings good out of every evil.

It would be centuries before the world would welcome the Messiah, but God’s storytelling had only begun. The promises of God were in motion. Prayers were being answered. It would just take a little more time. Joseph’s life is a precursor, reminding us that though man plans for evil, God plans for good. Beauty for ashes. Life from death. Man fails. God’s plan prevails. Every. Single. Time.

You are loved!

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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