Hope in Exile

There are times in life when the burdens seem too heavy, the clouds are too dark, and daily chores seem overwhelming. It takes too much effort to put one foot in front of the other and the best option may be to fall into a pile on the sofa or flop across the bed. A wide variety of circumstances can bring us to this place of despair. But, in those times, we are not alone. We are not forgotten. We need to cling to the seed of hope planted in our hearts.

hope_in_exile-title-2-still-4x3The story of Joseph’s life in Genesis is a real-life example of what it means to hold on to hope in the midst of a desperate situation. He had 2 vivid dreams and when he shared the dreams with his family members, they mocked him and pushed him away (see Genesis 37). But the seed of hope had taken root in Joseph’s heart and as he spends the next 13 years in exile, Joseph clings to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

His brothers turned on him and sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites as a slave. They took him to Egypt and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, bought him. As Joseph served in the house of Potiphar, the seed of hope is present.

 “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man … His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” ~Genesis 39:2, 3

Potiphar’s wife told a false story about Joseph to her husband and Joseph was put into the king’s prison. Though he is falsely accused, the seed of hope continues to grow in his heart.

 “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison … The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” ~Genesis 39:21, 23

The king’s cupbearer and baker are put in prison and one night they each have a dream. Joseph interpreted their dreams. And he asked that they would mention him to Pharaoh so that Joseph could get out of prison. The cupbearer forgot all about Joseph and two whole years passed before Pharaoh had a dream. As Pharaoh seeks to find a person who can interpret his dream, the cupbearer remembers Joseph in prison. The seed of hope was still present.

Joseph was brought in before Pharaoh and asked to interpret the dream. After all these years have gone by and Joseph has been in difficult situations, he continues to point to God. This young man has been holding onto hope for about 13 years now.

I love the real-life story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. It is a good reminder that life can be hard and difficult but God is sufficient. He is all that I need today. And then, I ponder Joseph’s faithfulness in the midst of adversity and his resolve to cling to his hope in God.

 My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Is the seed of hope growing in your heart? How do you respond to difficult times and the trials of this life? Let’s ask the Lord to help us grow and cling to our hope in the Lord Jesus.

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