The story of Joseph is recorded in Genesis 37-50. As a teenager his brothers mocked his faith and sold him into slavery. I suspect at some point Joseph may have wished they would have killed him rather than sell him as a slave, thinking in death he would have been put out of misery. But by being sold as a slave he would awaken each day with the reality he had been rejected by those closest to him – his family. For years, the last memory he had of his brothers was them ignoring his pleas for mercy.
In the next chapter of his life he worked as a slave in the home of a high ranking Egyptian official, and we can see God’s favor was on him (see Genesis 37:2-5). His hard work caught the grateful eye of his boss and unfortunately the lustful eye of the man’s wife who repeatedly tried to seduce him. Realizing she could not lure him to compromise his vales, she accused him of attempted sexual assault. Her husband, serving as judge and jury, took the words of his unfaithful wife over the words of his loyal servant, and with that Joseph spent over a decade in prison. If anyone had a “right” to take on the persona of an embittered victim it would be Joseph. Yet even in prison we see examples of a man whose faith in God remained intact.
At age 30 he was released from prison and immediately elevated to the position equivalent to Vice President of Egypt (see Genesis 41). In this chapter of his life we see that his faith in God survived the challenge of success and power. After several years, he passed on a prime opportunity for vengeance against his brothers. Referring to the time they mocked his faith & sold him into slavery, he told them “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” (Gen. 50:21). Suffering and success revealed the true character of the man.
Perspective has a great deal to do with faith. Faith can be emotional, but is not an emotion we “work up.” It is a quiet resolve, a conscious commitment to hold steady when your emotions scream “ENOUGH.” In the moments and seasons of uncertainty, it is the anchor that holds fast. It is what drives us to pray for the answer to that same need day after week after month after year. It is seen in the acrostic F.A.I.T.H. – Father Again I Take Hold of your promise.