“It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. … It was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:5, 8). This is what Joseph said to his brothers that beat him up, threw him in a pit, sold him to some slave traders, and then went back and told a big, fat lie to their father Jacob about Joseph being killed by a wild animal.
When the brothers threw Joseph in that pit and were bartering with the slave traders, the Bible says that Joseph pleaded for his life. I have a hunch that Joseph pleaded with God too. But God didn’t answer that prayer.
When Joseph was falsely accused of molesting an official’s wife and thrown into prison, Joseph probably prayed for God to get him out of prison now! But God didn’t answer that prayer.
I’m sure Joseph’s father Jacob was praying that somehow Joseph would be returned to him. That maybe he wasn’t really dead after all. How long did Jacob pray that prayer? A year? Five years? Twenty years? But God didn’t answer that prayer.
When the devastating famine hit Canaan, I’ll bet Joseph’s brothers prayed that God would bless their crops and livestock and save them from the famine. But God didn’t answer that prayer.
Aha!! But God DID answer all of those prayers.
Not in the timing they wanted, but in His perfect timing “to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).
Are you praying hard for something? How long have you been praying? Keep at it…