1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
Two more years passed after the event of Joseph interpreting the dreams for the chief butler and baker, and all the while he was left stewing in jail. To me that seems long enough to give up hope that the chief butler would ever help Joseph to get out of jail.
We don’t hear anything about how Joseph conducted himself during all this time. Presumably he still retained his conscience, but I can’t help but wonder what state his heart was in. Did he ever have days of despair where he assumed that this imprisonment would never end?
Certainly we also have our difficult situations that we cannot see a way out of. We each have situations where every attempt to find deliverance is frustrated, until at last we accept that we have no control over the matter. Then we try to turn things over to God, but after a time of our prayers going unanswered we start to question whether even He will ever take this obstacle away. We start to surrender to the expectation that things will remain just as they are forever.
This is an extremely humbling, even heart-breaking, experience to pass through. We have an innate sense of justice inside of us, which cries out that everything should be brought to its rightful place. The innocent should be exonerated and the guilty condemned, that is the right and natural order of things, yet that isn’t what we see happening around us. It is a hard thing to maintain our sense of what the right and ordered world should be, while also submitting to the fact that that simply is not how things always are.
The nature of bubbles in water is to rise to the surface, but sometimes these pockets of air get caught on sunken debris and held down where they should not be. But even a pocket of air trapped for a hundred years never loses its true nature. When decay and currents finally clear away the obstacle, air will still rise to the top.
So it is meant to be for us. Justice may be frustrated for a time and our surroundings may not match our quality of character for a season; but whether in this life or the next, all will eventually be made right. Though it takes an act of God, the good will eventually rise and the evil will fall. As we will see soon, this is what happens for Joseph. He is trapped with no earthly hope of deliverance, and certainly for a longer period than he would have preferred, yet deliverance does occur.