Summary: When life is uncertain, be certain that God is still in contrtol and that God still cares.
There is a little church in Galena, Kansas, where it is customary for people celebrating birthdays to come to the front of the sanctuary. There, they give a special offering while the congregation sings “Happy Birthday.”
On the other hand, if you’re a little shy, you can give your offering to an usher who takes it forward as an anonymous offering. One Sunday, an usher came forward and proclaimed, “I have here an ominous birthday offering.”
A grey-haired man spoke up, “Aren't they all?” (Anita Heistand, Galena, Kansas, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader; www.PreachingToday.com)
These days, the future seems ominous, especially after the mass shooting in Los Vegas last Sunday night, the terrible hurricanes we’ve just experienced, and the threat of ISIS and North Korea. On the more personal level, people face things like a scary medical diagnosis, financial uncertainty, or just the uncertainty of growing older.
So what do you do in these uncertain times? What do you do when the future seems ominous? Well, there are some things we can learn from the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. He had a bright future, when all of a sudden life took a turn for the worse and he was sold into slavery. Then he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. To say the least, he was living in uncertain times. His future seemed ominous, but his faith remained strong. What did he do, and what can you do to remain strong in uncertain times?
Genesis 40:1-3 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. (ESV)
Now, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker were two very important officials in Pharaoh’s cabinet. The chief cupbearer usually became a trusted advisor and friend to the king, because the king trusted him with his life. You see, it was the chief cupbearer’s job to make sure there was no poison in the king’s food or drink, so he would taste it first before he gave it to the king, risking his own life for the king each time he sat down to eat. As a result, the king and his chief cupbearer became close friends. And the chief baker provided most of the king’s food, so he too was an important, trusted official.
Well, it just so happens that they end up in the same prison as Joseph. Do you think so? Do you think it “just happened”? No! GOD put them there, because GOD had a plan for Joseph that involved Pharaoh. Now watch as God works His plan.
Genesis 40:4-8 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody. And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them… (ESV)
“Oh, forget your dreams. They’re no good. In fact, I had a dream once and look where it got me – right here in prison with a bunch of losers like you.” Is that what Joseph told them. No! Look at verse 8 again.
Genesis 40:8 ”And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” (ESV)
Joseph still believed that God-given dreams were important. Joseph still believed that God gives dreams and that God will work to fulfill those dreams no matter what happens in life.
Joseph never stopped believing God even in prison, and that’s what you must do in your “prison” experiences as well. When life seems uncertain…
BE CERTAIN THAT GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.
Believe that God has a plan and He is working that plan for your good and His glory. Remember that God has not forgotten the dream he gave you and He is working to fulfill that dream in ways you can’t even imagine.
Don’t give up your faith in God. Otherwise, you can become a bitter, angry person of no use to anyone. Look at Joseph in prison. He is serving his fellow prisoners (vs.4), and he is concerned about them when they are sad (vs.7). His compassion comes from his confidence in God, and your faith will do the same for you.