Lessons from the Life of Joseph, Part Two
The great poet, John Milton, reminded us that loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named not good. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Our Creator, right at the beginning, knew that human beings need other human beings to live.
And yet, as one of the repercussions of Mankind’s Fall, loneliness is something we all grapple with at one level or another. Although loneliness is not often discussed in the Bible, it is witnessed frequently in the lives of many giants of the faith from our Bible stories.
We see loneliness in the lives of Jacob, Moses, Job, Nehemiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, and David. He wrote, “I am desolate and afflicted; I have been left and deserted” (Psalm 25:16). Need I remind us that the Lord Jesus Christ in the four Gospels was the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; we esteemed Him stricken of God and afflicted.
The problem of loneliness is no respecter of persons. A. W. Tozer said: “Most of the world’s great souls have been lonely.”
Loneliness is not the same as being alone. You could be surrounded with all the friends, all the family, all the acquaintances in the world and still be the loneliest soul in existence! Here's a challenging question for you: if you find yourself in that category of the lonely, how do you cope with your loneliness? God’s Word can give us some help on how we answer that one.
In Genesis 40, we find Joseph in the midst of a great trial of faith. He has been mistreated, misrepresented, falsely accused, and imprisoned. The path of life leads us into prison situations from time to time. We all face hardships and trials. That is the way of life. Sometimes we feel that we are forgotten in that prison. Even though man may forget us in the prisons of life, the Lord never forgets, and He refuses to forsake us while we are there.
Our duty in all the prisons of life is to actively seek ways to glorify Him. Our circumstances might be bad, but our God is good! We need to learn how to glorify Him when the sun is shining and when the rain is falling. We need to look for ways to point others to Him even though our own hearts are breaking! If He is the God of the mountain, He is also the God of the valley.
Isn’t it true that when we are in a figurative lonely prison cell, we really don’t have time to be too worried about the needs of others, because all we can think about is how bad we hurt? Isn’t it true that most of us are pretty self-centered when it comes to dealing with our burdens and problems? Did you know that an attitude like that is not what the Lord wants from His people? He wants us to commit ourselves to meeting the needs of others. He wants us to look around for someone that we can help.
The disappointments that Joseph experienced in prison served to teach us some valuable lessons. They are lessons that we can learn as well.
Oppression can lead to feelings of loneliness.
Never place your emotional health into the hands of others. (Genesis 40:23)
The keyword for loneliness is not escape, but endurance.
Loneliness can serve as the springboard from asking, “Why?” to learning, “Who?”
God is enough. He is always with us. Even when I am alone, I don’t have to feel lonely.