Genesis 50:15-21 (ASV)
15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16 And they sent a message unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin, for that they did unto thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we are thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
Many years earlier, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. He was their father’s favorite child, even though he was the youngest. He was the only son of their father’s favorite wife – the one he’d had to work seven extra years to be allowed to marry. To say the relationship was unhealthy between them is an understatement.
While he was in Egypt, having been essentially kidnapped after being left for dead, he prospered because the Lord was with him. Then, his boss’ wife wanted him, and he refused her. She set him up, and he was put in jail. He stayed there for two years.
All of this was unjust. He had done nothing to deserve any of this. Yet he didn’t complain. He kept being faithful to God.
Because of all the unfair things that had happened to him, he was in the right place to literally save all Egypt, and all of Israel. Not just his family, but all their descendants. If his family had died in that famine, Abraham’s family line would have been lost.
Everything has to happen in this order for him to be on the right place at the right time. He was there to advise the Pharoah how to save up grain so that nobody would starve. God gave him the wisdom to interpret Pharoah’s dream.
A lot of bad happened, and he doesn’t focus on it. He sees the good that came from it.
His brothers came to him, afraid that he would punish them. They made up a story that their father wanted him to forgive them, yet Joseph didn’t even need that lie. Joseph didn’t need to forgive them – he wasn’t even upset with them. He knew that what happened was meant to happen, and it was for the good.
Let’s look again at the final lines.
20 And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
He knew that they meant evil for him, yet he also knew that God meant it for good. He didn’t blame them, or get angry at God for all that he had suffered. He fed them, comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.
Are we that forgiving? Are we that patient during trials and tribulations? Are we that willing to suffer a little to gain a lot?
I have a feeling that the amount of trial you go through is proportionate to the amount of blessing you are going to receive. But the only way to get that blessing is to trust in God and give thanks constantly.
We have to trust that God is in charge and is directing our path, even if it doesn’t make sense, even if it is hard. I’ve found that the best way to stay in that state of trusting in God is to make the effort to always give thanks.
Create a gratitude list. Write down everything that are going well. Start with simple things. Running water is good. Hot water. A house. Food to eat. Your health. A job. Instead of thinking “Things could be better”, remember that “Things could be worse.” So be thankful for the little things.
Look at what Jesus says in Luke 16:10 –
“He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.”
Learn prayers of thanks from your own faith tradition and from others. Write your own, or create them on the spot. Constantly giving thanks frees us from feeling oppressed or harassed. We look at all our blessings rather than our shortcomings. We see all that we have, instead of all that we think we should have.
May you be blessed this coming week through your practice of thankfulness, knowing that God is working through your difficulties.