“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
The favor of the Lord is a wonderful thing. After all, He’s the creator of the world and everything in it. If He takes a special interest in your success, there’s no way you can possibly fail. The favor of the Lord is better than pulling the winning lottery numbers. Twice. But, what exactly does the favor of the Lord look like? We’d like to think it’s all butterflies and rainbows, but Joseph’s story rips that theory to pieces.
We are told over and over again that Joseph was a special recipient of the favor of the Lord. We are essentially told that everything he touched turned to gold. And then he is sold into slavery. He is falsely accused of raping his master’s wife and his master, who has had no reason in the world to question his integrity or loyalty, buys the stories and sends him to the king’s dungeon, a special prison for political prisoners. And then, when one prisoner gets out after promising to bring Joseph’s case before the Pharaoh for review, he promptly forgets about him and Joseph is left to rot in prison. All of this and we are guaranteed that Joseph is receiving the steadfast love and favor of the Lord the whole time.
Maybe the favor of the Lord is a great thing, but if this is what it looks like—slavery, character-destroying false accusations, and prison—perhaps we should be a little more cautious about seeking it than we normally are.
The truth is, the favor of the Lord is a grand thing. But when we receive it, what it means is He is going to use us in a special way to accomplish His plans. Often that means He is going to maneuver us into a position to have a powerful influence on a large group of people for the sake of advancing His kingdom. Getting into such positions, though, with the kind of credibility we need to have the impact He designs is often not best accomplished by the direct route. God understands this and plays the long game. Unfortunately for us, the long game often means taking a road to God’s designed end that is much more difficult than not.
In other words, just because you’re facing challenges and troubles in spite of being faithful to God does not at all mean He hasn’t noticed or received it. It could very well mean that He is rewarding you with His favor, but the road to seeing that favor play out is a hard one. When it comes to the kingdom of God, the road to greatness always takes us through a valley of brokenness along the way.
If God is breaking you, you can be all but guaranteed that He has plans to use you in a powerful way. Trust Him with all of your heart and lean into the breaking process so that He can make you whole again and ready for use. God’s favor may not feel good in the moment—Joseph’s road of brokenness lasted for as many as twenty years—but He is taking you on a path of kingdom greatness if you will walk with Him.
Indeed, without being broken on the road to becoming the second-in-command over the whole of Egypt, Joseph would not have had the humility and graciousness of spirit to forgive his brothers, allowing for the saving of his family and the creation of the tribe and then nation of Israel. The incredibly difficult path Joseph took through his life was an integral part to the outworking of God’s favor in not only his life, but yours and mine as well.
When you get the chance to receive God’s favor, take it. The road probably won’t be easy, but the results will be good beyond what you can imagine.