As I was reading my Bible study, I came across the passage where Joseph was making himself known to his brothers (Genesis 45:4-8) who had sold him to some Ishmaelites as a slave because of their extreme jealousy of him, and his father’s love for him. Sometime later he was taken to Egypt, where he was rapidly promoted and eventually found himself a servant in Potiphar’s house.
His brothers had intended to get rid of Joseph, they had put blood all over his robe, and told his father he had been attacked and killed. They never thought they would see him again. Can you imagine being so filled with jealousy that you would sell a loved one to strangers with no thought to their well being? Their actions were not only unloving but right down cruel and evil. Imagine the pain their father felt when he heard the news. His grief was great.
It is interesting how God used Joseph, and was with Joseph in every moment of his captivity. He put him into positions of power and prospered him. Yes, he was also put into prison after being falsely accused of trying to sleep with Potiphar’s wife, but even then, scripture tells us that God was with him, and put him into a position of authority as the prison administrator. Joseph was in prison a long time, he could have whined and complained, but instead trusted God and pointed others to God in the things he did. He was asked to interpret some dreams and he quickly said that he alone could not, but God could. Because of this ability, he eventually was released from prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.
Pharaoh had a dream involving fatted cows and very thin ugly cows, he wanted to know what the dream meant. Joseph again told him God would give the interpretation, and God did. It was about seven years of prosperity and seven years of famine and drought. Joseph said the Pharaoh needed someone to prepare for the drought to come. Pharaoh decided that Joseph was the best man for the job, suddenly Joseph went from prison walls to palace living and was made second in the land only to the Pharaoh.
The dream of seven years of prosperity and seven years of drought and famine came true as Joseph had interpreted. He saved food and prepared for the seasons of famine. During this time, his father and brothers found themselves in need of food and after hearing there was food in Egypt the boys went to buy grain and other needed items. (Genesis-Chapters 37-45)
Now we have come to the verses I was speaking about in the first paragraph, Genesis 45:4-8. “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping, 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Joseph could have stayed angry and refused to see the bigger picture. After all, he had been the one sold and taken away from all he had known. He was the one who had been put into prison, but Joseph saw the hand of God in it all. The bigger picture was greater and far more important than the one right in front of him, the life he was living. Yes, it seemed unfair and hard. I am sure he experienced every emotion under the sun, but he did not complain, he did his best in every situation and waited to see what God would do. He realized that his brothers were tools for God and that he too was a tool God used.
His understanding came to full fruition upon seeing his brothers. He knew then that God had done a great thing for not only his father and brothers but for himself. It was a full-circle moment for Joseph. All the years of longing for his family were suddenly gone. They came and lived in the land near to Joseph and all their needs were supplied. God used their wicked intent for Joseph’s good, their good and his glory. Wow!
Maybe you find yourself in a tough situation. It does not seem fair and more things are going wrong than right. Are you whining and complaining or are you doing your best while you wait on God? Often we want instant answers to life’s upsets. We want the valley experience to end so we can climb to the top of the mountain and survey our kingdom so to speak. The waiting can be hard, confusing, tiring and so many other emotions. Maybe just maybe it isn’t about you only. It is rarely only about us. God’s ways are so much higher than ours and there is always a bigger picture at work. Maybe you will get to see the outcome and have full understanding like Joseph and his brothers and maybe not. God does not owe us an understanding of his plans, but often he allows us to know or at least see glimpses of it.
I am in a season of waiting right now. Things seem to be dragging along at a snail’s pace. I want to make it happen on my timeframe, some days I feel impatient and then God gently reminds me to sit back, wait, watch, listen and trust him. He is God, nothing is too hard for Him and He will work it out in such a way that He alone gets all the glory, honor and praise. I am confident that the season I find myself in is not just about me. I pray daily that God helps me to wait patiently, expectantly and hopeful in all that He is doing. I know at the very moment that He has determined everything will fall into place and the time I have spent waiting will be just a memory. But I want to lean in close and learn while I am here. I want to do my best while waiting and I want others to see Jesus in me while I trudge through the muck and mire. I was telling someone just yesterday (Sunday) that although things are not as I want and there have been some new snags to plans, I will smile, sing and praise my heart out knowing that God has it all. After all, there is not a better way to spend my time than with Him, His word and the sweet presence of His spirit each day.
He will work it out…I will see the goodness of God and maybe if I am lucky I will get a glimpse of the why, if not, it does not matter, God’s ways are perfect and I can trust all that He does!
Blessings to you as you journey on….maybe you too are a tool God is using in the bigger picture!