“Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good.” – Genesis 50:20
You are the 11th son of 12 brothers. Your father loves you best. He lets the others know by giving you wonderful clothes. They get jealous (surprise, surprise). You don’t help matters when you share your dreams of them bowing down to you. In response, your older brothers kidnap you and sell you into slavery in a foreign land.
Fast forward twenty years. You’re still in that foreign land, but you’re no longer a slave. In fact, after some setbacks (like several years in prison), you’ve risen to power as the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. When famine grips the land, your brothers show up, asking to buy food to feed their families. They don’t recognize you, but you recognize them. What would you do?
That’s the question Joseph faced. We can face it, too. When we are hurt—either by another’s actions, our own choices, or (like Joseph) some combination of the two; what do we do?
When Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers, he tells them that what they had planned as evil, God used for good. Joseph also participated in that redemption. He was angry initially but when he saw his brothers’ sorrow and understood their love for their father and youngest brother, he was “changed for good.” It’s a line from the musical “Wicked” but it also applies to Joseph. He couldn’t change the past, but he could–and did–choose to change his brothers’ suffering. With God’s help, he became God’s hands and heart. With God’s help, Joseph was “changed for good.”
Can we be, too?
Thank you, God, for Joseph’s story and its reminder that with your help our lives can be changed for good. Amen.