If you are housebound or exhausted it can be hard to understand how God use you. Kerryn shares.
“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison . . . ” (Genesis 39:20)
So many of us with chronic invisible illnesses are housebound. It’s one of the hardest aspects of illness for me.
Outings, other than appointments for my health, are just not possible. The chronic fatigue syndrome has left me with little to no energy for the most basic daily routines. Added to that, multiple chemical sensitivities have caused major illness responses to everyday scents that people wear.
I have just read Genesis 39 and have related to it in a whole new way. I’ve often felt sorry for Joseph, but today I heard the Lord speak to me, in my own situation, of being housebound.
- Joseph was misunderstood by Potiphar. How often do we feel misunderstood?!
- Joseph was sent to the King’s prison and isolated from the world’s affairs. The housebound are also isolated from the world’s affairs.
- Joseph had no family or friends there to encourage or support him. Through isolation we become removed from those that are our support network, often losing close friends.
We could remain focused on these same things, which could lead to deeper depression, bitterness, anger, or grief.
However, it’s not the end of the story with Joseph–or with us! Verse 20 is left incomplete and what God wants to say to us follows in verses 21-23:
. . . the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Oh, the joy in reading this! We are not alone. The Lord is with us! He shows us kindness and favor? He gives us responsibilities towards others in the same situation. We have a responsibility to love and care for others in like situations through prayer, the internet, and any other forms available to us.
Rest Ministries is one of those places to love and care for others.
What a beautiful last line: the Lord gave Joseph “success in whatever he did.” He does that for us too. It may not look the way we want it, but it’s “success” in the Lord’s eyes.
The Matthew Henry Commentary concludes this section with:
“A good man will do good wherever he is, and will be a blessing even in bonds and banishment; for the Spirit of the Lord is not bound nor banished.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word that speaks right into our own situations to comfort us. Thank You that You are with us in our confinement and that your Holy Spirit cannot be “bound nor banished.” Use us, Lord! Amen.
About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.
How does Joseph’s story speak into your situation? The Holy Spirit in us is not “bound nor banished,” so what does that mean for you during illness and confinement?
There are days when we wonder what God’s plan could be. How can He make something out of this life we are leading? Out of us, with so little energy? Out of us, who sin and snap and backslide? Because we are His children and He will forever lay down His life for us.
This is why He did it! Not because we are perfect, but because we are His. I love this song, “Lay Down My Life” with Sidewalk Prophets. I think you will like it and it has some pretty beautiful lyrics. -Lisa