In her book Permanent Present Tense, author Suzanne Corkin tells the story of Henry Molaison, a man who was unable to make new memories after the age of 27 because of an operation on his brain. When he died at the age of 82, Molaison had no idea who Corkin was, even though she had worked with him for 46 years. Those who suffer from memory loss know how painful it is to forget. Those who love them know that it is even more painful to be forgotten.
While in prison, Joseph interpreted a strange dream for Pharaoh’s cupbearer. The dream predicted that the cupbearer would soon be released and restored to his former position. Joseph begged the cupbearer to remember him and intercede with Pharaoh on his behalf. Instead, the cupbearer forgot about Joseph (Gen. 40:23). He did not remember him until two years later when Pharaoh had his own troubling dream and called for his magicians and wise men to interpret it (Gen. 41:1–13).
During those years in prison it must have seemed to Joseph that God, like the cupbearer, had forgotten all about him. This was far from true. The intervening years turned out to be a divinely planned strategic delay. The cupbearer’s guilt over this case of temporary amnesia motivated him to speak to Pharaoh about Joseph (Gen. 41:9). Joseph’s interpretation got Pharaoh’s attention and he placed Joseph in charge of the palace. This eventually enabled Joseph to rescue his family from starvation and preserve their lives.
We are rarely able to see the greater workings of God’s plan that lie behind the specifics of our disappointment. We may feel forgotten. He may seem to ignore our cry. But in reality we are never out of God’s sight.