We all struggle with our emotions from time to time. Perhaps the greatest of these is the isolation of loneliness. We can be in a crowd or among friends and family, and feel intense loneliness.

I was reading about Joseph today, and then came these thoughts: Joseph found himself isolated and alone among his own family. His brothers hated him (Gen. 37:4) and at their first chance threw him into a pit (37:23-28) and then sold him into slavery.

Even with God's blessing upon him - in charge of Potiphar's house - Joseph found himself once again alone and isolated, falsely accused (39:11, 19), and thrown into the king's prison.

There, in prison, God once again blesses his work, placing him in charge of the prisoners. Yet, in chapter 40:14&15, Joseph interpreted a dream for the king's cupbearer. We see his loneliness expressed in vs. 15 when he says he was forcibly carried away from his land and placed in prison undeservedly. What does the Cupbearer do? After Joseph's kindness? The Cupbearer forgets Joseph and he remains in prison two more years (40:23).

Last, we see his loneliness come out yet again in the service of the Pharaoh and his palace. Joseph rises to Prime Minister of Egypt, and even in this renewed fortune and hope, He singularly (41:51&52) names his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Their names mean, God has made me forget all my trouble, and God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.

Joseph was made "to forget" and "be fruitful." He suffered, physically to be sure; but especially emotionally and psychologically. There's a recurring theme in his circumstances and comments: isolation, separation, and loneliness. Even in these circumstances - the pit, Potiphar's house, prison, and the palace - Joseph suffers....and he thrives. God ministers to him every step of the way in the midst of his rejection and humiliation. Wow, the doubts and fears he must've surely felt through his life journey, even after things got better. Nothing is recorded of these, surely he had them, but even more certain, is we know he triumphed over it all because Scripture constantly reminds us God was there with him, blessing him in the midst of the fires of adversity.

His locales and circumstances changed, but the two constants? Loneliness was one. The other? God.....let that thought linger and sink in.

So, I guess we should all be encouraged. God is our helper, defender, and friend. Even in His silence(s) He teaches us to trust Him, to endure...to grow in our trust of Him through hard and difficult times. How else could I learn this trust if everything always went my way?

Hebrews 13:5&6 says about Christ, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Last, Hebrews 11:22 speaks of Joseph upon his imminent death, and the faith he expressed for God's eventual promised deliverance of Israel from Egypt. I guess God's endgame is a faith (in all of us) that is no less strong at death than it is supposed to be in life.


Joseph O’Neill