God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. (Acts 7:9–10)

A KIDNAPPING and attempted murder. Sold into slavery and left to rot in prison.

It sounds like a thriller novel, not a biblical tale of God’s providence in preserving His covenant with the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s stories brim with blessings of God and prosperity—as befitting the bearers of God’s holy covenant.

Joseph’s story, then, comes as a shock when the hero, the patriarch no less, is mistreated, imprisoned, tricked, and nearly murdered. Where was God’s covenant blessing and protection now? Ah, but, the joke was on the tricksters who would soon be in famine and begging their brother Joseph (unbeknownst to them) for food.

God’s covenant played in a minor key for a while, but God was with Joseph, safeguarding him and His covenant people. God placed Joseph where he could save Egypt and God’s beloved Jewish people from starvation by giving Joseph supernatural wisdom.

God’s providence may be invisible, but it operates silently in the world as God chooses to do His bidding and care for His people. Joseph’s brothers were not only fed, but also forgiven for their betrayal by this formidable Egyptian who happened to be their long-lost brother. And Joseph saw God’s providential hand again and again in his life, blessing and providing all he needed. And so shall we.

Never underestimate the hidden and mysterious providence of almighty God.

Kathy Bence lives in Idaho with her professor husband, Phil.