If You Feel Imprisoned

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, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

Genesis 39:20-21

America - land of the free and home of the brave right? We love talking about our freedoms in the United States (and for good reason!), but are there ever times when life feels like a prison you can’t escape? My bars are called chronic pain, and with the increased activity level that summer always brings I’ve found my pain levels rising as well. When that happens fear and anxiety are never far behind, along with their good friend depression; my confidence flees, replaced by doubts that whisper, “You’re not going to make it Ryan; you’re going to fall apart again and let everyone down.”

Joni Eareckson Tada, one of my “heroes of the faith,” knows all about life’s prisons, having spent the past 50+ years in a wheelchair without use of anything below her neck. Add chronic pain and 2 rounds of cancer on top of that and YIKES - I think I’d feel trapped too! However, the “prison” of Joni’s wheelchair is the very place where she’s experienced God’s freedom! When the weight of life’s burdens are pressing down, Joni likes to recall the story of Joseph. Why Joseph? Joni says this:

…"I am always buoyed up by today’s Scripture (Genesis 39:20-21): “While Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” God did three amazing things while Joseph was in prison: (1) God was with him; (2) He showed him unceasing kindness; and (3) He granted him favor."

The same gifts God gave Joseph in his prison are available to us as well. There are so many circumstances that can leave us feeling trapped with no options and no hope - a cold marriage, incurable cancer, a child who has walked away from Jesus, a dead-end career, a lifelong battle with mental illness, the list could go on and on. If you’re in one of these “prisons,” maybe these words from Joni will be the spiritual key that unlocks the door around your heart:

If you are suffering in pain and confinement with patience and a godly response, God will do for you what He did for Joseph. Look to your Deliverer; He will always be with you, show you kindness, and grant you great favor.