What's my story in those years? I finished school, became a Christian, got a degree (just), worked for a dotcom startup, did an internship, held down a job for 9 years, got married, got a mortgage, and become a father. Not bad by most estimates, though not quite the kind of story my University Alumni magazine is ever likely to publish (not enough money involved!).
How about Joseph?. At 17, clothed in splendour, his father sent his beloved son to his brothers who made him the victim of an attempted murder, sold him into slavery, reporting him as dead, and the spent his 20s in slavery and prison for an offence he didn't commit. At 28 it looked like he'd get his break for freedom but he languished a further two years in obscurity before finally at the age of 30 our Joe got his SuBo moment.
Genesis 41:37-57 tells the story.
He was recognised by the Pharaoh as having the Spirit of God within him (the first time we're told that happened to anyone) and to be full of wisdom. He was set over the kingdom, sovereign over everything. He's given a new name 'Zaphenath-paneah'- the treasury of glory, revealer of secrets or even the Saviour of the World. He stored up abundance for the world. Got married had two sons (between the age of 30 and 37) whom he named to reflect his experience. They testified that though he was fruitful it had come through affliction and hardship that was now behind him, blotted out. Then, the Pharaoh told the whole cursed world (struck by famine) to go to him. And he fed the world.
Fruitful through affliction, a true suffering servant.
Vindicated after hardship, a true type of Christ.
Full of the Spirit and wisdom, a true son of God.
And Joseph, like he one he foreshadowed, has abundance of food for the famished, abundance of blessing for the cursed, abundance of life for the dead. His people surely are called to the same path, which questions how it's by prosperity that I easily remember when I reflect on my life....
What I forget is.... that as seventeen year old middle-class kid I was among the famished, in a famine of the word of God, following the prince of the air and living as a child of wrath having born to Adam's cursed people. The years I've lived through have seen Christ's suffering appropriated for me, my testimony know - the years have been kind thus far, but Christ has been much more kind, his gospel is my life, in times of plenty and want. And as I've been drawn to him, to he who has the words of eternal life (for where else could I go?), I've become a child of a new humanity, given a whole new life, my old life blotted out - as Joseph's hardships were in his vindication. And all of it out of the riches of Christ's love, his Father's love and the power of the Holy Spirit - who was poured out upon Christ and so upon me!