This isn’t a good picture. It really isn’t. Some of you are wondering why one unread email is problem and are thinking, “What’s the big deal with one notification?” While others can’t stand a notification and are like, “Woman take care of that right now!”
But here’s the thing: that email has been there for MONTHS.
Ugh… it makes my stomach churn to type that.
The email sat “unread” so I would remember to reply. But instead I became so accustomed to seeing the little icon saying “one unread email” that I began to ignore it, always thinking I’d get to it later. And then later turned to days, weeks, and now months…
I have some apologizing to do, no doubt. Because that email represents a person who was forgotten.
And it happens all the time. (I mean) hopefully I don’t forget to reply to emails all the time but I meant that people are forgotten all the time. Maybe tonight you feel forgotten.
Are you waiting for someone to return a call/text/email/letter?
Are you yearning for recognition of a job well done?
Are you waiting for your big chance?
Are you longing for your breakthrough moment or dreams to be fulfilled?
What’s worse than waiting is when, in the waiting, it becomes apparent that you’ve been forgotten.
I can’t help but wonder what Joseph felt like in the waiting, when he was forgotten. As if the rest of his story isn’t bad enough with betrayal and unjust treatment, but to be faithful and forgotten adds insult to injury in exponential fashion.
So there Joseph had been through this harrowing journey beginning in a favored childhood with a future teaming of promise, favor, and blessing that had all come crashing down with the ultimate betrayal of his brothers selling him into slavery. Then, while remaining upright in character, Joseph works his way into favor with his captors and then he is falsely accused and gets thrown in jail.
From favor, to slave, to prison, to forgotten…
That forgotten part gets me because of Joseph’s request.
And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.
“…please remember me…”
After everything he has endured that is the plea of Joseph: please remember me.
But he was forgotten.
Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.
Thats rough. No, really, that is awful.
I can’t imagine what Joseph felt like when the cup-bearer left prison and was restored to his position and the minutes turned to hours, turned to days, turned to weeks, turned to years… two years. Two years of sitting in prison, forgotten.
Now we know the story, we know that God moves in Pharoah’s dream and the cup-bearer remembers and all that Joseph had dreamed almost a lifetime ago finally comes to fruition. But in those days in the prison cell, did Joseph? I’m sure he remembered, he likely hoped, but he sat there forgotten.
The Psalms are filled with cries of distress, longing, pain and suffering. Cries to God that the writer would not be forgotten. Sometimes we cry so hard for so long that we are barely left with a whisper of a voice. But Psalm 38:9 tells us that God hears even when we cannot speak.
You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
Even when everyone forgets you: You are not forgotten.
Though people may forget, God who does not sleep nor slumber, who will never leave nor forsake you, who hears your every sigh… God does not forget you.
I don’t understand God’s plans and timing. In Joseph’s place I couldn’t have foreseen how God would ever work it all out. But God is faithful, and while His way are not our ways, His purpose will not be thwarted.
And so for the times in our lives when we sit like Joseph sat, while ours may be figurative prison cells we still feel jailed nonetheless when we have been left, forgotten… in those moments we need to cling deep to hope.
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
He is right beside me.
You are not forgotten.
Friends, I don’t know why this message has been on my heart for weeks. I tried to write last week, but a tiny baby needed snuggling and yet, I didn’t forget and this message kept bursting in my heart. And tonight the baby is sleeping, the kids have settled in bed and after a long day I sit here furiously typing away as the words tumble through my fingers onto the screen. For whomever this message was meant, to you who feel forgotten please know you are not. Even when it seems all hope is lost: God has not forgotten you he is with you always. Do not be shaken! He is right beside you.
If you need a friend to listen, someone to reach out to, send me a message or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). You are not alone.
God, tonight I pray for those who are enduring more than I can even imagine. For those whose eyes have run out of tears from crying, whose hearts are aching, and whose spirits are broken. God draw them close to you. Comfort them with your presence. Grant them peace in the waiting. Give them companionship in this journey and hope in you. Amen