Read: Genesis 39:19-23
Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Israel. To my shock, there was a point during the trip that I realized traveling didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would. I sat on my bed one afternoon wondering why, as I walked where Jesus literally walked, all I wanted was to go back to the normal rhythms of hanging out with my friends at school, making my own food, and drinking my own coffee as I went about my day. I was in a really significant place, yet I was discontent. Through this, God reminded me that the trip wasn’t supposed to fulfill me in the first place. The reason I was discontent was because I was depending on the adventure rather than God to satisfy me. For the next month and a half, I was able to truly enjoy Israel because I wasn’t dependent on it. I was seeking the presence of God first. God reminded me that I could still be content because He was present with me and was giving meaning to what I was doing.
In Genesis 39:20, Joseph is wrongly put in prison. When I read this story when I was younger, I used to wonder how in the world he could stand being in jail for that long without losing hope. His circumstance was awful and I could not fathom how he made it through. For years I turned that over and over in my head and could not come to an answer.
Obviously, my different seasons of life don’t compare to Joseph’s time in jail, but the source of meaning and strength remains the same: God’s presence. That is the reason he was able to walk through so much hardship. Even when Joseph loses the favor of Potiphar and is sent to prison, verse 23 is clear: God is still with him.
We, as children of God, can always find hope because He is always present with us. When seasons are filled with adventure and excitement, God is present. When a period of life is mundane, God is present. When we lose everything around us like Joseph did, God is present. Even if we were to lose the community that supports us or the job we find meaning in or the ability to do what we love, we still have hope and meaning because God is present. God’s presence is enough and can be depended on. He never leaves us. Because of God’s presence, Joseph was able to walk in integrity, was given a high position over the prison, and interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker who were imprisoned. God’s presence makes the difference. In any circumstances, we, like Joseph, can be content and live fully because He is present.
Take a moment to write down a short phrase that will remind you that today has meaning because God is with you. Whenever you are tempted to wish that you were somewhere else or doing something different throughout the day, repeat the phrase to yourself and remember that you can be content right where you are.