Yesterday I was reading through Genesis and was struck by the use of the word ‘remembered’ throughout chapters 40 & 41. The story goes a little something like this… After correctly interpreting a couple of dreams, through God’s wisdom, Joseph asks the cup-bearer to Pharaoh to ‘remember me and show me kindness‘ & to ‘mention me’ (literally using the Hebrew word for ‘remember’) to Pharaoh [Genesis 40:14]. Twice in this verse Joseph asks to be remembered! Why would he ask this? What would make Joseph persist in this specific request? Well, Joseph had been forgotten, not once, not twice, but most likely over and over again throughout life. Through a long chain of unfortunate and unfair events Joseph had been systematically either abused or overlooked, the latter at times bringing even more acute pain. Joseph was almost getting used to being forgotten, almost! Despite his pleas we learn in verse 23 that the cup-bearer continued the theme for Joseph’s storyline and did NOT ‘remember’ Joseph; ‘he forgot him’! Finally, in the next chapter after Pharaoh has a dream the cup-bearer to Pharaoh realizes his forgetfulness and ‘remembers’ Joseph (Genesis 41:9).
The question we must all face is not will we ever face being forgotten, overlooked, abandoned or any other synonym that conveys the same struggle. The real question is how will we respond when we are forgotten? How will we handle ourselves when those closest to us overlook us, when life and/or love seems to just pass us by? Will we allow emotions to rule our judgment? Will truth really set us free?
There are so many things happening in this story about Joseph but at the core is this refrain, repeated on numerous occasions for emphasis, “The Lord was with Joseph!” Sounds simple, but makes all the difference in the world! The Lord was with Joseph! Joseph was never forgotten. God never overlooked him. This perspective seems to always provide the framework through which Joseph reacted to life. Joseph could have responded to many situations with anger, fear, or he could have just given up. Yet over and over again Joseph faced his abusers, the forgetful ones, and through God’s power he faithfully went forward.
Feeling forgotten is a real emotion! BUT! Stop and ask yourself a question. This question makes all the difference. Is the Lord with you? If God is with you, then what is there to fear?