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What Our Prisons Are For
by Fred Pruitt

A while ago it came on me so strongly that I needed to thank God specifically for things that were more easily issues of complaint or self-pity or even perhaps somewhat "begrudged" faith. So I did, thanking the Lord for all the things I felt like I was hating and all the things I wished were different in my life. I thanked the Lord that things were specifically the way they were, including me and all the folks in my world. It cleared up some cobwebs.

One of the main things on my mind has been Joseph in the prison (if there was ever a place for lamentations and weeping and self-pity), and yet walking in the Spirit in the prison. Not knowing when his redemption would come, probably sensing it would come some day, probably getting his hopes up when the Pharaoh's butler went back to Pharaoh, only to find the hand of man seemingly let him down again -- how destroyed he must have been when he realized the butler had forgotten all about him -- yet still remaining God's man in the prison, for another two years.

His imaginations of various scenarios of human rescue had perhaps by that time subsided and he became content in God in prison. And that's when the dreams came to Pharaoh and the butler remembered Joseph from prison. Joseph was lifted out of prison by the Unseen Hand of God at the proper time, to become in the end a type of Christ the Son as the Father's agent throughout the whole land, and the redeemer of His people Israel who come to him out of the famine in Canaan.

And then we realize that this Joseph is us, and we he. Isn't it too much? In our past we were the hungry sojourners who came in from the desert out of a great famine, but the story of Joseph is how we are not just to be the rescued or the delivered, but in Joseph (Christ in us) we ourselves now become the Rescuer, the Deliverer. The sustainer, who has sustained us, now sustains others by us. This is our heritage and our commission, and what our prisons and sufferings are all for.