When Your Storybook Ends

The LORD was with Joseph.
— Genesis 39:2 NIV

There are five words to remember when “happily ever after” is missing from your “Once upon a time.”

Joseph had a storybook childhood. Adored by his father, Joseph was the prince of privilege and preferential treatment. Every page of his youth was good times and sunshine. Then Joseph discovered the truth that all children must learn:

Life is not fair

Charcoal clouds of adversity smothered the bright rays of promise. Like a sack of grain Joseph was sold – YES SOLD – and shipped south to Egypt. Family and familiarity were gone. 

Who turned the page?

Years passed. Childhood bliss became a faded memory. Certainly Joseph wondered: "Did God forget me?" "Is God hiding!" But God did not forget. God was not hiding. God was not playing games.

Genesis 39 is Joseph’s valley chapter. As he trudges through the bog, we discover that he has an unseen companion. Look closely! Five beautiful words brighten this depressing moment.

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.

Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison … But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden…. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:1-2; 20-21, 23 NIV)

All of us have valley chapters: The lost job, the career-threatening injury, the estranged child, the cancer, the big disappointment . . . .  It is during these adverse circumstances that we must cling to those five marvelous words:

The LORD was with Joseph.

The LORD was with Joseph and the LORD will be with you! How do I know? Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

So take out Joseph’s name and replace it with your own:

  • The LORD is with ________________.

He is there in the joy of accomplishment and in the heartache of adversity. Adversity's presence does not mean God's absence. The Lord never forsakes his own. William Cowper says it well:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
— William Cowper, God Moves In A Mysterious Way