God Is Still With You

Author Tom Park reflects on Joseph's story in Scripture and articulates that even in our darkest hardships, God is still with us.

7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 45:7-8 [ESV]).

The past two years have been challenging for many, and I have also suffered. Being let go from a place of employment due to finances was painful. I thought to myself that I might perhaps retire someday from that job. However, the pandemic shattered my hopes and plans.

When I look at my situation, the story of Joseph comes to mind. Jacob loved Joseph because his favorite wife, Rachel, gave birth to the boy. Knowing that he was his dad’s favorite, Joseph behaved like a brat, incurring his jealous brothers’ ire. It is shocking to find out that some of Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him. However, with the intervention of his brother Judah, Joseph’s life was spared but sold to be enslaved in Egypt. To conceal what actually happened, his brothers slaughtered a lamb and put the innocent victim’s blood on Joseph’s coat, which was the token of his father’s love. The blood-drenched coat of many colors brought uneasy closure to Jacob of his Son’s death.

Meanwhile, Joseph became a slave to Potiphar. The LORD was with his father’s favorite son turned into an enslaved person. His master trusted him and gave him authority over the Potiphar’s household. However, his hard work and ethical living ironically brought hardship to Joseph. The false accusation of Potiphar’s wife sent the Hebrew man to the royal prison. Even during this dark period, God was with Joseph. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not abandon the favorite Son of Jacob. 

By interpreting dreams with the LORD’s help, Joseph gained notoriety. Although Pharaoh’s cupbearer promised to remember his former fellow inmate, Joseph was quickly forgotten until Pharaoh inquired for an individual to interpret his dream. At the crucial time, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to the position of power to prepare for the impending famine. The news of well-stocked storehouses spread fast and wide, and Joseph’s family heard that there was food available in Egypt. 

Joseph could have been bitter and resented God for his misfortunes. However, he recognized that the LORD sent him to Egypt to save others, especially Joseph’s family members.

Genesis 45:7-8 is a help to individuals who are struggling to reorient themselves. God is always with us, just as the divine was with Joseph. The LORD was with Jacob’s favorite son in the prison cell and his opulent palace. God will use my hardships as an opportunity to serve God and my neighbors. I am confident that Joseph experienced racism in Egypt because Egyptians looked down on Hebrews. They did not even eat with them. What helped Joseph rise to prominence in the active opposition by saboteurs? The LORD made Joseph successful. 

My friends, God is with you, and the LORD loves you. God’s love is manifested in Christ. Jesus gave up his life on the cross to break the spell of hatred of racism and ethnocentrism. God will help us fight against hate, systematic racism, and injustice with God’s unfailing love.

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