I wanted to write about this since God revealed it to me through his American humble, loving and amazing servants. We all know the story of Joseph since our childhood (or perhaps not), but I want to highlight something that will surely touch you, too.
Let me first start with the following verse:
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown." -Revelation 3:11
Now... let us imagine that there's a clean blackboard before our eyes as we go through Joseph's story. So, everything starts with Joseph's birth. We know that "Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children, because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe." (Genesis 37:3) That means Joseph was doing pretty well. Thus let us draw a line upwards on our blackboard. We know that his brothers were jealous of him after he was treated favorably by his father and then had dreams, which said that everyone is going to bow down before him. His father asked him '“Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.' (Genesis 37:10-11) On our blackboard we'll draw the line we have just drawn, a little bit higher, like this:
Then as you know, Joseph was thrown into a cistern and sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37:23-28), that means his life was pretty down, but he didn't die. On our blackboard we will draw a downward line.
In Egypt Joseph came into Potiphar's house, the captain of the palace guard. God was with Joseph, "so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master." Potiphar "put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned." (Genesis 39: 1-6) Let's look at our blackboard now:
But "Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully...She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible." (Genesis 39: 7-10) Joseph did not compromise. She accused Joseph that he tried to sexually abuse her, so he was thrown into the prison. His life went down again, BUT he never gave up his faith in God.
"But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything." (Genesis 39: 21-23) So, we go up on our blackboard together with Joseph.
Some time later, Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker, who were in prison, had a dream, which Joseph interpreted. The Pharaoh "then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup. But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought." (Genesis 40). So, let's draw the line downward.
Later the Pharaoh had a dream and he wanted its interpretation which nobody could give. Then the cup-bearer remembered that there's a man in the prison who can interpret his dream. God gave Joseph the dream's interpretation and through this Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. Joseph's suggestion saved Egypt from famine and made it very wealthy. He was reunited with his family and everything was awesome! So we'll draw the line a little bit higher.
Then with the passing of time Joseph got older and died. So, we'll draw a line down, but deeper than the other ones, because his life was over.
In heaven, before God's throne, Joseph's life will be examined and evaluated. So, we'll mark that with a horizontal line beneath our drawing.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?
I know you are smart and started getting the point from the first lines we have drawn... :)
We have to take care throughout our lives which are filled with ups and downs and not loose our faith in and our love for God. You shouldn't stop somewhere on your journey, because if you stop on one peak or in a valley, then your crown won't be whole. Hold onto Jesus, "for in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10) Don't give up!
Jesus is coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.