Joseph sat there, as he did most mornings. Sat there in the dark, sat there in the cold and wet. He looked around him at the dismal abode he had called home for many years. The prison walls were dark and cold, with no real light to shine in, other than the dimly lit torches in the hallway. It had been so long he had been in this prison that he had grown used to the dim light. Like the light and the air in the life above seemed more like a fading dream than a reality.

Sometimes he had memories of his past life. Of his family. Of his mom. Of his dad. Of his brothers. But when he thought of his brothers, a grief came over him and tears threatened to escape. The pain of betrayal from years ago were dug up and while no longer fresh, there still remained a dull pain of what his own blood had done to him—sold him and banished him away from his home and parents. Oh how Joseph longed to be back in his childhood home of Canaan. But Joseph had given up on that hope a long time ago, he had learned it was best not to live in the past and how things used to be. That’s not how Yahweh worked anyway. His God was always present in his life, always there in the midst of each one of his trials.

As Joseph sat there, he waited for the prison warden to come by and get him. The warden had entrusted Joseph a while back to help him with the day-to-day operations of the prison and the people. He would come each day to take Joseph to his office (another dismal room in the dungeon) and ask him questions about the internal functioning of the prison and assign Joseph his daily responsibilities. Joseph was allowed to take notes and keep a scroll with him as he walked around and took inventory of the prison and the people coming in and going out each day. Joseph did appreciate the opportunity to have responsibilities while in this prison but when it came down to it, he still laid his head down each night in a jail cell.

A memory flashed through Joseph’s mind of his first nights in the palace prison. Back then, Joseph was so angry. He was angry at himself, angry at his brothers and sometimes, even angry at Yahweh for allowing him to be brought down this low. One night, the anger bubbled up so strongly that Joseph had torn everything in his prison cell apart. He hit against the cell bars in frustration and rage as tears streamed down his face. A prison guard came rushing over to restrain him, but by the time the guard got there, Joseph had resigned himself to his knees, crying with his hands still clutching the bars. Breakdowns must have been normal because once the prison guard saw him sobbing on his knees, he dismissed him as a threat and walked away.

To be rejected again, Joseph had thought as he had watched the guard walk away. That was something he was used to. His whole life he had been overlooked, put down, treated like a slave. That wasn’t even something that started when his brothers sold him into slavery, no, he was treated like that his whole childhood, constantly made fun of, always being put down and told he wasn’t good enough. Joseph felt like he was living up to all the things his brothers had spoken over him, that his life was never going to amount to anything. Kneeling there on that cold hard ground of the prison, Joseph had began to helplessly cry again. How long was he to remain here suffering? His whole life?

Joseph’s mind jumped back to the present as he still sat there in his cell, lost in his thoughts. He wondered why he had that memory of his painful first nights and months in this prison. He looked up and noticed some light leaking in from a crack above him. He had never seen light come through the walls or ceiling of this prison before. A feeling vaguely familiar began to fill him as he looked at that light. Joseph had known that feeling before, but a long time ago. What was the word for it? Uplifting? Encouragement? Hope? Why would Joseph be feeling hope? Joseph always knew the Yahweh spoke to him, through his dreams, through his thoughts and even through the signs around him. In this particular moment, Joseph sensed that Yahweh was trying to bring him hope today. But why now? Joseph had felt that tinge of hope come from Yahweh before while he had been in prison. Like there were times when Yahweh was trying to encourage Joseph and remind Joseph He was with him.

The last time Joseph had felt this type of hope was when he was talking to two prisoners a while back during his daily rounds. He had come up to them because he saw how upset they were and they shared their dreams from the night before. Joseph had always known dreams were Yahweh’s language and his whole life he had a knack for understanding these seemingly complex metaphors, almost like he understood the language in which his God spoke.

Joseph knew what the prisoners’ dreams meant as soon as they told him and shared the meanings to each of them. To the one who was the former cup bearer to the King, he said he would be promoted back and to the King’s baker, he sadly shared, his time would come to an end. As much as it saddened him to share to the baker his fate, he had felt that twinge of hope when he shared the cup bearers fate. He even asked the cup bearer to remember him and mention who he was to the king. He felt Yahweh fill him up with that hope, hope that there was a way out of this prison, that his life was not just endlessly wasting away. Joseph had a sense that the cup bearer was his way out of prison but as the months passed and now years have passed with no word, Joseph seemed further and further away of being taken from this prison.

But as much as Joseph hated where he was at, he had also made his peace with it. Just like today, when he had felt that breeze of hope, Yahweh has been near to him ever since his brothers betrayed him and especially during his time in prison. Even in those low moments when Joseph found himself on his knees crying, he had felt a comforting presence near him, almost as if someone was in the cell with him. And those tearful moments turned into moments of prayer, as he began to learn instead to lift his eyes up and to praise Yahweh for his goodness and favor in his life, even in the midst of his imprisonment. Not once had Joseph been without clothes or food or water or shelter and while Joseph didn’t have much, Yahweh had provided everything to him. Joseph lived in a peace now that he probably never would have come to experience if he had stayed with his family back in Canaan. Yes, Joseph had experienced Yahweh’s provision and presence miraculously day in and day out and through it, had been transformed into a new man. There was no where Joseph could go where he wouldn’t know how near Yahweh was to him. He often wondered if Yahweh had allowed these things to happen in his life to bring out this peace and strength in character he had developed. And deep down into his inner core, Joseph knew that Yahweh’s plan in his life wasn’t over.

That’s how Joseph had survived all these years in this unjust imprisonment. He had drawn near to the God of his ancestors and sourced strength from knowing his God was with him. And days like today were especially sweet when he felt that supernatural presence come and lift up his spirits. But the hope he was feeling today was strange and not like the times before in that it continued to grow stronger and more palpable. It was like Yahweh was stepping into his cell and shifting the things. Joseph began to look around and noticed that he had been waiting for way too long for the prison warden to come and get him. He had never waited this long before and wondered if something was wrong.

Joseph heard footsteps coming but it didn’t sound like just one person, but a whole platoon. He stood up and looked out of his cell and saw members of the royal guard coming toward him, being led by the warden. Joseph couldn’t believe his eyes and continued to stare outside of his prison cell. The guard approached and the man in front of him spoke, “Are you Joseph the Hebrew?” Joseph had no other choice but to acknowledge the truth. “Yes” he replied.

“The King Pharaoh requests your presence, you’re coming with us.” The guard unlocked Joseph’s prison cell and let him out. “We’re taking you to the King, follow me,” the guard said again as he led Joseph away. Joseph looked back and saw the prison warden watching him leave and the open cell door of the place he had called home for many years. Joseph turned back around and followed the group of soldiers, sensing and knowing this was what hope was experienced, being taken to a better place. Joseph had a feeling he wasn’t coming back here and that Yahweh was moving him and delivering him to a better future. And Joseph couldn’t wait to find out what was beyond this prison.

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