Many of the Bible stories we first learned about as children are tucked within the pages of the Old Testament. From the first verses of Genesis we learn about God’s Creation and beginning of the plan for His people. Most will recall the story of Joseph. How his dad, Jacob, favored him just a bit more than all the other sons. His brothers loathed his special treatment and their anger was fueled when Joseph was gifted a beautiful robe. Adding to the jealousy, Joseph shares about the dream he has one night, and how the brothers sheaves of grain bowed to his sheave. This, of course, infuriates the brothers and they eventually develop a plan to leave him for dead and toss him in a cistern. While all this is happening, a caravan of Ishmaelites pass nearby and a new plan is made. After quickly changing their minds, his brothers not only get rid of their brother, they profit by selling him into slavery. As the years pass, Joseph’s life looks much different than fist imagined. From slavery, to accusation, to prison, eventually Joseph found himself in one of the most powerful chairs in all of Egypt. Through it all Joseph did not give up and instead of wallowing in self-pity, he sought God with each move he made. Like us, from the moment Joseph was born God wanted to use him and with every circumstance in His life, God used it to develop and grow him.
We continue to read, after several years a famine hits the land and Joseph’s brothers show up in Egypt. He recognizes his brothers immediately. Without revealing himself to them, Joseph asks questions about his family back home and even has some silver placed in their sacks in an attempt to have them return. When the brothers discover the silver, they return immediately begging for mercy. Eventually Joseph cannot control himself and he reveals his identity to the brothers and they fear what he may do to them. Instead of getting angry or punishing them for what they did to him, Joseph shows nothing but love and forgiveness. He tells the brothers to not fear him or be angry with them “because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you….But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Gen. 45:5 & 7) You see in it all God had already gone ahead of Joseph and all the difficulties he and his family had. No matter the situation, God was providing a way to care for both Joseph and his family. Even in the most difficult situations throughout all their lives, God was at work.
Our challenges today may look a little different than Joseph’s, but we have the same choices he did. We can give up when the weather forecast is wet and soggy or we can trust God to provide. When a child is scheduled to undergo a lifesaving surgery, one can live in fear or trust God has already gone ahead and is walking alongside us every step of the way no matter what happens. When life seems as though all is going wrong and sadness surrounds us, we can be upset and angry or we can hope in the one who created us. We can trust in Him because He has been faithful not only throughout our lives, but in those we read about in His Word.
As we enter this new decade, I pray we will continue to recall and reflect on the many times God has been at work in our lives. May we share our testimony with all we encounter so God’s love and faithfulness might be revealed to them. May this be the decade we each grow deeper in our faith, fully trusting our Heavenly Father as He goes ahead of us on this journey of life.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)