“Come in Boat 9 your time is up…Come in Boat 9 your time is up…Boat 6 are you in trouble?”
Take a look around any shopping centre, or place of work. How many people are wearing a smile? How many are just focused on what they are doing? And how many look seriously troubled? And the big question – how many of us notice? In our society, most of us are so intent on what we need to get done, we fail to pick up on other people’s troubles. And even if someone makes the effort to look, most of us do our best to hide the discomfort. Ask anyone how they are, and their response is always ‘fine thanks’.
Joseph noticed straight away that something was up in the next cell. The cupbearer and the baker were dejected. (Genesis 40:4-8) If they wanted to hide their difficulties, they were seriously failing. Noticing wasn’t the problem.
They had both had dreams. What troubled them, was knowing that these had been special dreams – dreams that need interpreting, and they had no one to turn to. I guess in Pharaoh’s court, there was no shortage of people claiming that gifting, but here in prison, they felt bereft. Their grief was not in having the dreams, not even in the fact that they were incarcerated, but that they had no access to an interpreter, no one to help them get the wisdom they needed for their journey of life.
I wonder how many of the people we meet any day of the week, are desperate for that sort of support? Where do people go with their dilemmas? What do they do when problems surface?
As Christians we claim that God is our help in times of trouble, the Holy Spirit our Advocate in times of need; but in practice most of us need a godly ear to share our griefs and a kind word to shed a little wisdom. And what about those without faith?
Maybe we all should be asking God for some divine connections – that we might notice those who need a bit of help along the way. God gave Joseph the gift he needed in that situation. We need to trust that he will empower us too, in the connections he puts our way. As a bonus, there’s a better chance of getting some help when we need it too!