It’s difficult for me to comprehend being so immersed in God’s purpose that I accept bad things that happen to me as part of God’s plan. Somehow Joseph arrived at that point in his life when he told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive (Genesis 50:20, NASB).” It was no small thing his brothers did to him and Joseph could’ve had them killed or locked up, yet he recognized God’s purpose in it.
It’s not clear if Joseph fully understood years earlier as a boy why God let his brothers sell him to Midianite traders who took him away from his family. Scripture only tells us: “Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt (Genesis 37:28).” We do read that even though Joseph endured years of hardship in Egypt, he continued to do his best to remain faithful to God. It is clear by chapter 50 in Genesis that because Jospeh’s brothers sold him to Midianite traders he was in a position to save Egypt and the surrounding region from a severe famine.
Joseph’s forgiveness of his brother’s evil toward him was wrapped in his devotion to God’s purpose. Even before Pharaoh gave him authority over Egypt, he tried to do his best for God by managing Potiphar’s household and later the jail where he was placed. Despite his troubles, he was faithful to God and his plan.
Resentment and a desire to get revenge on people who harm us can cause us to lose site that God can turn evil to good. Trauma in my own life has taught me much about the character of God and given me empathy for others suffering similar pain. It is when I recognize God’s purpose that I can begin to see how evil intent can be turned to bear good fruit to help others. In God’s purpose I can start to find forgiveness and healing.
© 2021 CGThelen