He Won't Forget

We’re not sure how long Joseph was held in prison — but does it matter? Every day must have seemed an eternity to one who had been denied justice. The young son of Jacob saw an opportunity for freedom, however, when he was asked to interpret the dream of Pharaoh’s butler. Knowing through God’s revelation that this man would soon be serving Pharaoh again, Joseph made a request: “But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14, NKJV).
As days and weeks went by, Joseph tasted the bitterness of disappointment. “Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (Genesis 40:23). It was likely more than disappointment with the butler. He may also have felt disappointment with God. Why didn’t the Lord act? Joseph had taken a stand for God with Potiphar’s wife (see Genesis 39). Why hadn’t God rewarded his loyalty?
Centuries later, a man felt his life slipping away. He no longer hoped to be delivered from his sentence, but he saw in the man next to him a thread of hope. “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom'” (Luke 23:42). Would this thief be disappointed, too? Though Jesus promised that the penitent criminal would join him in Paradise, did the Lord remember? No further mention is made of the thief. Perhaps the Lord, consumed with more important matters, forgot to follow through on his promise.
Even the apostle Paul felt the sting of having been forsaken. In his last correspondence before his death he wrote: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). Imagine the emptiness this devoted servant of the Lord felt as he looked for someone — anyone — to come to his side when he needed encouragement most. But no one showed up. He faced his accusers alone.
Paul didn’t end his thoughts on a note of self-pity, though: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me …” (2 Timothy 4:17). Though no Christians appeared at Paul’s trial, the Lord was there. Jesus didn’t forget his faithful servant.
Our eyes sometimes scan the horizon in vain for friends and helpers. Don’t they know the difficulties we’re facing? Don’t they care? And why doesn’t God send them? Has he also abandoned us when we need him most?
No, God doesn’t abandon his people, and he doesn’t forget their dedication and faithfulness. Here’s one powerful statement of the promise: “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Don’t judge by what your eyes alone reveal. Look beyond the material into the realm of faith. Know that God will stand with you during all of your trials. Know that the Lord doesn’t forget.

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Tim Hall

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