“The chief cupbearer however did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Genesis 40:23 (NIV)
Have you ever been forgotten? Maybe you feel that way now. In Psalms 142:4 (NLT), the Psalmist expressed how painful it can feel when you’re overlooked and forgotten.
“I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.”
Joseph must have felt that way. Abandoned by his brothers, sold as a slave, falsely imprisoned for two years and, now, forgotten by the last gleam of hope he had for any possible release. He had helped the cupbearer. He interpreted his dream, and he told the cupbearer what God was saying to him. Joseph’s only request was that he would remember him when he was released and reinstated as the King’s cupbearer. Maybe, just maybe, that information would cause the King to release Joseph or reopen his case! But, as is so often the case, the greatest services in life are followed by forgetfulness! The cupbearer forgot Joseph! Those are three of the saddest verses in the Bible – “… he forgot him.” What about Joseph’s dream now? The cupbearer may have forgotten Joseph, but God had not forgotten him. God knew right where Joseph was. He was developing Joseph’s faith through stages I call God’s faith-building process. The first stage was the faith-forming stage. The second was the character-building stage. Stage three of God’s faith-building process is:
- The Selfless Surrender Stage
When you’ve been forgotten, and your dream has died, you have two choices. You can grow bitter, or you can surrender it all to God and choose to forgive. Surrender the dream to God. The truth is that only He can resurrect it. You may have been forgotten by others and your situation may be humanly impossible, but God specializes in impossible situations! He will never forget you! He has inscribed you on the palms of His hands! I like the way the Living Bible paraphrases Isaiah 49:16. It says,
“See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm….”
God has a tat on the palms of His hands with your name on it! He will never forget you! If we give our brokenness and hurt to God, He can bring good out of it! God can take your pain and propel you to your destiny if you’ll give it to Him. Dead end is always the stage before deliverance! That’s what Joseph encountered. While in the pit of that prison cell, he surrendered his life, his dreams, and his future to God, despite feeling forgotten and abandoned! He didn’t deny the pain. He was honest and transparent with God about how he felt. Look at what he says later to his brothers in Genesis 50:20.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph didn’t whitewash the wrong done to him, shrug his shoulders, and suggest it didn’t hurt or that it was no big deal. He said, “I know you intended to harm me and you did, but God took all the pain and the hurt it caused me when I gave it all to him and surrendered my life totally to Him and look at what He’s done! God used all of it for His intention to save many lives!”
Instead of becoming bitter and tearing down those who had hurt him, Joseph had become a people builder! Wow! What a God! He is at work in the shadows when we can’t see anything! If you’re there today, surrender it all to God. Like Joseph at the selfless surrender stage, you are on the threshold of a miracle! God will take your mess and turn it into your life message! When we surrender our lives totally to God, He will use all the pain, all the mistreatment, all those lonely days when you wondered where God was at to build not only your own faith, but the faith of others.