The Old Testament account of Joseph’s life demonstrates a New Testament scripture that is quoted quite frequently. Beginning in Genesis 37 and ending with chapter 50, Joseph’s story tells how God can work together ALL things for the good of those who love Him—those whom He has called according to His plan. (Romans 8:28)
Out of jealousy, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. He is then re-sold to an Egyptian ruler, who has him jailed on false accusations. While imprisoned, he helps out a fellow inmate, who then forgets all about Joseph once he is released.
However, God used all of these trials and tribulations to bring about good, not just for Joseph but for the entire region and for his own brothers who had sold him off! God placed Joseph in a position of power for this specific purpose.
Did Joseph enjoy the process of getting to that place in his life? I highly doubt it. Slavery is full of pain and fear and hard work. Prison is no better. Despite Joseph following hard after God and doing his best at whatever he was asked to do, he still endured suffering. Even just the separation from 11 brothers and his father would have weighed heavily on his heart.
I really doubt he could see God’s hand at work at the time his brother’s sold him as a slave. I find it hard to believe he would recognize God intervening when he was falsely accused and thrown in prison. But he remained faithful to God.
It is difficult, when we are facing a challenge or traversing a rough road that seems to only lead further into adversity, to realize God has a plan and is working it out. It is only when we come out on the other side that we even begin to see a faint shadow of the path God has mapped out for us.
When we find it difficult to see God at work in our lives, how do we remain faithful?
Psalm 63:1-2 says we go to church and look for Him there. We hope to hear stories there of how God has brought others through.
O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry, parched land where there is no water. So I look for you in the holy place to see your power and your glory.
Job 9:4 reminds us not to blame God, despite how bleak things may look.
You, my God, are wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against You and prospered?
Hosea 6:1 invites us to turn back to God, to acknowledge His presence and power and plan.
Let’s return to the Lord. Even though he has torn us to pieces, he will heal us. Even though he has wounded us, he will bandage our wounds.
God is trustworthy. Joseph’s life illustrates this so vividly—and so do our lives. We may be in the midst of a challenge that makes us question God or even doubt His goodness, but, if we draw close to God, He will use even these difficulties to bring about His good.
P.S. I needed this post as much as anyone. Please pray for my husband, Dick. He fell on black ice and hit his head hard on our driveway yesterday. CT scan showed no concussion, but he has two staples in the back of his head and a rip roaring headache and neck pain. Prayers greatly appreciated.
©2016 Pamela D. Williams