We all know the story, right? Joseph was deeply loved by his father. He was the favorite. Dad made him a beautiful coat of many colors, which he showed off to his brothers. After rubbing their noses in it, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Although he endured many hardships, he eventually rose to a position of great power, which enabled him to save not only his family, but an entire nation.
There’s the Condensed Clement version. The scene I’m focused on today is a dramatic one. It’s the moment that I play over and over in my head – kind of the climax of the story. This is the point where I can hear feel emotions rising as the background music swells… the moment when Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers. They’re all gathered around, in fear for their lives, and Joseph just can’t take it anymore. He breaks down and cries so loud the entire house of Pharaoh hears him – and he tells his brothers that he is Joseph – he is alive. What they meant for evil, God meant for good.
As I read through this familiar story again this morning, the verse that jumped off the page for me is this:
“So it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:8a)
If it were me? I’m afraid I’d hang onto that blame game for all I was worth. I’d be tempted to Lord my position over them… to return to the habit of rubbing their noses in it, at least for a little while. It’s easy to look for someone else to pin our suffering on, isn’t it? When we find ourselves in difficult – even painful – circumstances that may very well be brought about by the actions of someone else, the easiest thing in the world is to focus on what they did to us… and to cling to a spirit of unforgiveness, even desiring revenge. So easy.
Isaiah 26:3 is one of my favorite verses in Scripture. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” That is what governs Joseph’s response. He is able to forgive his brothers for the evil they have done to him because his mind is fixed on God. He knows that his entire life was orchestrated by the Father, and that there was a purpose in every second of his suffering.
I want that confidence. I want to give my circumstances nothing more than a glance, because my gaze is fixed on the One who loves me and knows what’s best for me. Then I can let go of this need to find blame… to hold grudges… to harbor resentment and a hard heart toward those who have hurt me. When I can see that it is GOD who has “sent me here”, I will be able to let go… and that’s when I’ll find peace.
Have a great day, my friends… let’s try and see the world through Jesus colored glasses today, shall we?