Acing the Test, Part 4

The Teton Range from the Andy Stone Trail, Wyoming

Joseph aced many tests in his life.  From belief in the face of obstacles to faithfulness when everything was going wrong, he managed somehow to hold on to what God had told him and watch it come to pass.

Overflow channel for The Sinks, Wyoming

I’m going to skip over the part of the story where Joseph was falsely accused of sin and everything that he had gained in terms of ruling was stripped away.  He found himself at the very bottom of society – even lower than a slave.  There was no visible way out, and there was definitely no way his brothers were going to bow down to him in this situation.

Teewinot Mountain from the Lakeshore Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Joseph had dealt with betrayal before, and I’m sure that this helped him ace this part of the test.  In some ways, it was déjà vu – once again the people around him used their power and influence to unjustly humiliate him and thwart God’s plan for his life.

Climbing up to Table Rock in Grafton Notch, Maine

I heard a song from many years ago where the woman sang about how her guitar had been stolen.  God used the situation to show her that earthly possessions were not worth fretting about.  She embraced the lesson and turned it into a funny song.  Then, a few months later, she wrote another song: “They did it again, sweet Jesus, last night they did it again.  I’d already learned that lesson, so how come they did it again?”*

Enlarged Erie Canal in its original bed, Macedon, New York

It’s sort of like when we see yet another hill to climb before we can get to our hiking destination – “You mean we have to climb another one?  We just lost all that elevation only to gain it all over again – and more?”

The Grandview Trail is so steep they put in cobbles to keep you on your feet, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Joseph must have been singing that song: “I’d already learned that lesson, so why did they do it again?”  I can say from experience that being betrayed 1) is never fun and 2) even if you learned how to deal with it the first time, the second time isn’t necessarily easier for the previous experience.

Scrambling through Peek-a-boo Slot on BLM land in Utah

But Joseph persevered.  Even in the dungeon, in a prison that makes our prison system look like luxury, he still did not give up completely on what God had told him.  And somehow, he dealt with the betrayal a second time.

Small waterfall along the Ontario Pathways, Phelps, New York

“But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love” (Genesis 39:21 NLT).  In the prison, Joseph found God because God was with Joseph.  It’s the first step out of the hurt, confusion, and bitterness of betrayal: finding God in the middle of it all.  First time, fifth time, twentieth time – find God and you’ll find the strength to hold onto Him.  With the Holy Spirit inside of us, God is always with us (in effect, we find Him because He is always nearby).

Grand Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Joseph aced the test of the second betrayal.  He aced the test of caring for the people around him even as a prisoner by interpreting the dreams of the Chief Cup Bearer and the Chief Baker (see Genesis 40).  He thrived in an unthrivable situation.  And God gave Him favor (Genesis 39:21).

Badlands along the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro State Park, Texas

God gives us the strength to climb the next hill, and the next, and the next.  It doesn’t make the hills necessarily easier to face, but with God, we know that He is with us and that being at the bottom of the hill isn’t the end of our story.

*Guitar Song by Mickey & Becki Moore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYgN6D4GpsI

Guitar Song Sequel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3hH–gK40Q