My 4-year-old daughter likes the story of Joseph, I believe because he has a beautiful cloak, and she likes beautiful, colorful clothing. As I read the story of Joseph last month, I was really struck by his words to his brothers in Genesis 45. As a quick re-cap of Joseph’s life, he was one of 12 brothers, he was the favorite of their father Jacob, the jealous brothers sold him and told their father that Joseph was killed, Joseph was taken to Egypt where he worked and gained respect of a high-ranking man, the man’s wife falsely accused Joseph of wrong and got him thrown in prison, he made some friends in prison who promised to get him out but then forgot. He sure had plenty of things to be ungrateful for in his life, plenty of wrong done to him and plenty of reason to get revenge.
But after becoming one of the most powerful men in Egypt, Joseph has nothing but concern for God when he met his brothers again. “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:4b-8)
Joseph attributed everything that happened in his life as being part of God’s purpose. He doesn’t even ask his brothers to apologize or understand what he has been through … he tells them not to worry or be angry with themselves because it was all for God’s glory. I’m wondering how different my life would be if I remembered that all things are happening for God’s purposes? If I took every situation and looked for God in it? If I looked at the “wrongs” of others as possibly being part of God’s plan?
I do wonder if this was Joseph’s thinking from the beginning? Was he thinking, “Ah! God must have great plans for me!” as he was being dragged off to Egypt to live as a slave away from his family. I’m not naive enough to think he was perfect, but he did make the important step of recognizing that God had a plan and a purpose for his life, and part of that plan included wrongs being done to him. I need to live like Joseph did.