“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. Genesis 45:3-6
“It wasn’t you who sent me here, it was God.”
Really?! That’s a phenomenal response in the face of those who sold him into slavery. I’m trying to insert my own circumstances here and look at how I typically respond when I’ve been wronged. Obviously I have no where near anything that compares to being betrayed by your family and sold as a slave. But I have been wronged, sometimes intentionally. And I’ve experienced what it’s like to have people plan against me, even if on a far less severe scale than Joseph.
And how do I respond?
It’s one thing to say I believe that God works all things for our good (even the bad things). But this is Joseph saying not only did God take the bad and make it good, but this bad thing was actually a part of God’s plan. He wanted me here so it wasn’t “bad” just painful for a time, and there is a difference. This is where Joseph was, what he knew and accepted.
And before they ask he has forgiven his brothers.
And without a pause he uses his power over them for their good, not for retribution.
And with no anger or bitterness he recognizes the hand of God that brought him to where he is, even if through some painful and difficult years.
This wasn’t a quick thing that Joseph went through. It took a long, long time to get “good.” And even longer for reconciliation. I don’t believe for a second that Joseph was always where he is at this point. I don’t believe he never doubted or never was angry at his brothers. But I’m inspired by his ability, over time, to come to this place of acceptance. Acceptance that God knew what He was doing and allowed this for not only Joseph’s good, but for the good of many.
I am where I am, not because of my own efforts, and not because of the efforts (good or bad) of others, but because of God. If I accept that and stop fighting it. And if I accept that it’s ultimately good even if it feels bad at the moment, then I think I may be on my way to true surrender to Jesus.