God’s Kindness in Prison Places

I have always loved the story of Joseph. But, it’s not an easy story to read. It is laden with heartache, hurt, betrayal, disappointment, accusations, and jealousy. 

I don’t love it for the drama. I love it because of what God does in the middle of the drama. I love it because God is always working, always bringing about his purpose through our broken pieces.

Most of us know Joseph’s story…but here’s a quick recap:

    • Joseph had just been falsely accused by Potipher’s wife who wanted something from him for herself.
    • His boss believed the lie and threw Joseph in prison.
    • Years before his brothers betrayed him by throwing him in a pit with the intent to kill but sold him instead. 
    • And don’t forget about the prophetic dreams he had as a teenager that they would all be bowing down to him. Such a promise that may look absolutely derailed!

While reading his story recently, I was struck by this verse:

But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. Genesis 39: 21a

That’s a quotable, pillow-worthy verse. It makes me feel good and fills me with hope. But, my jaw drops when I read the next sentence.

He granted him favor with the prison warden. Genesis 39:21b

Prison. This was Joseph’s current reality. He was in prison. Prison doesn’t sound very favorable to me.

This context puts teeth to the truth of this verse. God extended kindness to him… in prison.

If I were Joseph, I might be thinking, God, if you are so kind, why am I in prison?”

If I were Joseph, I might be feeling, “This is just who I am – used and betrayed. I guess it will always be this way for me. God, your promises stink.”

Have you ever felt like you were locked up by your circumstances, by your emotions? Have you felt trapped in a relationship, in a church? Have you felt bound by your anxiety, by your bitterness. These are prison places. 

I can relate to Joseph:

Feeling stuck.




But yet, the Bible tells us that God was KIND to him in prison. He was WITH him in prison (Genesis 39: 23) And since we know the rest of his story, we KNOW that God was still working his beautiful, redemptive story in his life each step of the way!

If you feel STUCK…in ministry, in your marriage, with your church, in your own relationship with the Lord…you are not. God is working.

If you feel OVERLOOKED…in ministry, in your marriage, with your church, with the Lord…you are not. God sees you right where you are (in your prison) and he is kind to you there.

If you feel USED…in ministry, by your so-called friends, in your marriage, in your family, in your church…you sadly may be. But God is not using you. He is working in you and for you to bring about him beautiful purpose for your life- for YOUR GOOD and His glory!

If you have been BETRAYED…in ministry, by your so-called friends, in your marriage, by your family, in your church…I am so sorry. That hurts deeply. But because of Joseph’s story, we can have HOPE in our own. God is not derailed by sin. He is bigger. His plan will always come about.

God is kind to you in prison places. When you are alone and see no way out, the Lord is there. Hold on, my sister. Have faith. Cling to the sweet love and kindness of our Father. You will get through this. I’m praying for you.