If anyone had the right to be angry, bitter and revengeful it was Joseph. I think being ridiculed and laughed at from childhood, thrown into a deep well and sold into slavery, accused of something that goes against your moral code and being punished for it as well as even being prejudiced against despite a powerful rank is more than enough to demand restitution for wrongs But Joseph chose to forgive. Just one of those injustices can totally derail a life, never mind them all happening to one person. Can you just imagine? That is quite a lot for one life to bear because Joseph didn’t know how the story ended. Joseph chose to forgive, even encouraging his brothers to forgive themselves for what they had done. That is simply the work of God in his life showing up. That kind of forgiveness cannot happen out of human strength.
Like us, Joseph was taking the events as they came and they just kept piling up. I can totally relate to that feeling of overwhelm as yet another trial comes my way. From the New Testament, we now have passages scripture to encourage us and promises to cling to because of Jesus’ life and death, but all Joseph had was the prior story of his ancestors that had been passed down through his family from his ancestors.
We have verses like Romans 8:28-29 where we are assured that God works all things for the good of those who love him and in 1 Peter 4:11 where Paul tell us that we can do all things through God who gives us strength.
In reading through Joseph’s story I was amazed at his integrity and reliance of God. It is in stark contrast to the character of his brothers, at least in the stories recorded of them in within Joseph’s story, so God must have made Himself clearly known to him. In chapter 45 during the reconciliation, Joseph tells his brothers 3 times that it was God who sent him to Egypt and tries to help his brothers not feel bad about what they did. He has been able to see the bigger picture of God’s overarching plan in how all the events that played out, despite their severity, were necessary for saving many many lives.
What an honor God bestowed on Joseph! He enabled him to serve in a very large way, saving humanity from annihilation. Joseph walked with God and trusted Him through his life circumstances even though He didn’t know the outcome and God’s used him in a great way!
We too, can endure and forgive anything when we understand and trust that it is God’s plan in motion and that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. God will use us, too, if we are faithful to Him. Maybe not in as big of a way as He used Joseph, but we can be sure our lives have a purpose in God’s plan.
We don’t know the outcome of our lives either but we have the hope of Heaven and if not before will then see how our lives and the trials we faced brought God glory and fit into his overarching plan.
I don’t know what God has brought into your life, but we have the same power of God to bring about that kind of forgiveness in us. Walking closely with God, trusting Him and focusing on the bigger picture, will enable that power to work in our lives.
For me, that sure is some serious inspiration!!