And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 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 39:20-23)
Success? You call this success? Joseph was betrayed, falsely accused, punished, and abandoned. Not quite the epitome of what we would call success. I looked it up, one dictionary definition of success is attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. Joseph is considered to be a foreshadow of Jesus Christ. Betrayal, false accusation, punishment, abandonment these are a far cry from attainment of wealth, favor or eminence.
Speaking of success, remember back in your late teens or early twenties? The success that you were sure was to come your way? I just reconnected with a college friend on Facebook this week. We used to sit and talk for hours, we had all the answers. We knew success would come our way, our fiancées would be the perfect husbands, we would have just the “right” number of kids, manage home and career. Hmm, life sure doesn’t look like I thought it would back then.
But wait there is another dictionary definition of success: a favorable or desired outcome. Desired outcome… whose desired outcome? Did Joseph’s imprisonment seem like success? Did Christ’s crucifixion seem like success? They are a success because they are God’s desired outcome. “The Lord made it succeed.”
The Lord was with Joseph, and is with you. He is Immanuel (all year round not just at Christmas time) which means God with us.
O Lord God, you are Immanuel, always with us. Thank you for bringing to pass your desired outcome. Remind us to attribute every success to you. Renew us continually in our baptismal grace so that we may serve you all the days of our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior from sin, death and the devil. Amen.