"But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with him, and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper."
To say that the journey Joseph took to his "purpose" was difficult would be an understatement. His life was marked by betrayal, abuse, false-accusation, imprisonment, frustration and lots and lots of waiting. Sound familiar?
In my book, Yes: Simple Response, Radical Results, I talk about how Joseph was given a dream at a young age, but had much development to go through before he reached his destiny. And the more I work with young-adults, adolescents and even adults who are already married, with kids and working full time jobs, the more I realize how many people feel like they are stuck in the "in-between."
You're not where you used to be but you're still not where you want to be.
In Joseph's story, the prison was his "in-between." At least he had gotten out of the pit his brothers threw him into. However, he had just fallen from what seemed to be a promotion and was now waiting out a 2-year period of "in-between."
To help you navigate this season and find purpose in the prison, I wanted to list a few things I have learned from my seasons in personal prisons:
YOU MAY NOT DESERVE TO BE THERE, BUT GOD HAS DESTINED YOU TO BE THERE
Have you ever asked yourself the question, "how the heck did I get here? I thought I made all the right choices! How is it that I ended up in this place?"
Joseph had no reason to be thrown in prison. That Jezebel, Potiphar's wife, was the one who made this whole mess in the first place. He never deserved to be thrown in jail - he was doing what God had told him to do! However, even in the midst of his obedience, the enemy was out to destroy him.
The most effective strategy the enemy uses to destroy us is to discourage us.
Here's the hope we have in God: what the enemy used for evil, God uses it for good. This is the very declaration Joseph makes to his brothers at the end of his story. In fact, it was his faithfulness in the prison that led him to be promoted over all of Egypt, only second to Pharaoh.
You might not have tried to get yourself into your current "in-between," but God knows how to get you out.
He's faithful to complete the work He started in you.
FAVOR WILL FOLLOW YOU, EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT FAIR
Just because you're in a difficult spot doesn't mean God's hand isn't still upon your life. In fact, God can cause your "in-between" to be a season of purpose, authority and blessing... even if the view isn't as good as your last season.
I love that even in prison, Joseph still thrived. God caused everything he did to prosper and led him to have great authority. Chances are, that wherever you go, God's favor will follow you and cause you to rise to places of great influence.
The problem we run into is that, often times, we reject the influence God wants to give us in the prison because we're so busy comparing it to the influence we lost in the palace.
Don't reject what God has sent you NOW. It may not be everything you want it to be, but God will cause it to work in your future favor if you would be faithful to steward it now. Just because you're in prison doesn't mean you should lack purpose!
THE CELL WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO STEWARD IN SECRET, BEFORE YOU TAKE THE STAGE
"The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the Lord was with him."
The season of the cell will often times present you with an opportunity to steward your authority with autonomy or lack of accountability. This isn't punishment, it's actually a sign of God's blessing and favor on your life. However, it's a test:
if you steward in secret, you will be authorized to move into success. But if you squander what you have been given in the cell, you can never be trusted with a stage.
As I teach young leaders, I find that many of their mindsets are the same: "I will start doing the right things when I get to the right place."
Unfortunately this is not how it works.
Joseph had to prove that he could lead well in prison before he could take over the palace.
And because the prison keeper trusted him with the entire prison and chose not to micro-manage him, he had to choose whether or not he would steward his "in-between" well or waste it away.
So, ask yourself:
- How are you managing your time?
- How well are you stewarding the small things?
- How are you preparing for the palace while you're in prison?
- Are you just waiting around or are you working towards God's ultimate plan for your life?
Even when Joseph was forgotten about by the butler and the baker, he refused to allow discouragement to derail him from his destiny.
Today, choose to believe in God's plan for your life by seeing your "in-between" as the path to your purpose. Trust that God's favor is on your life and that he will open up opportunities for you that you may never have expected, but will lead to your elevation.
Steward the small; be faithful with little... and God will grant you greater things to come.
About The Author:
Jared Ellis was called into ministry at the age of 16 years old, after being delivered out of a life of darkness, depression and depravity. He has traveled all over the world, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and has worked with some of the leading churches in the nation such as Bethel Church and Elevation Church. He also pastored in Abilene, Texas and grew a youth ministry of 12 students to over 300 - signs, wonders and miracles taking place each week. Jared is the author of "Yes: Simple Response | Radical Results." He travels full-time as an Evangelist, preaching at churches, conferences and events. He is also the GE Coordinator at Christ For The Nations Institute where he teaches and trains Youth Pastors and works as a church consultant. While at home in Dallas, TX, he serves as a worship leader at Trinity Church.