The journey of Joseph is the amazing story of a life lived with great ups and downs. It is a story mixed with triumph and tragedy. Yet, in the end, it is Joseph that God uses for a greater good. Verse 20 of Genesis 50 sums up the outlook that enabled Joseph to weather so much pain and disappointment and ultimately make a great difference with his life.
vs. 20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
It seems there are 3 important lessons we must take from Joseph’s life.
First, Joseph never chose to play or remain the victim. We never read about a moment where Joseph turned to pity or blamed others for his predicament. In every situation he was cast into, he chose to make a positive difference. Even in prison, Joseph never would be imprisoned by another’s decision and action. Joseph’s decision to never play the victim card enabled him to move past the past and move toward a productive future. Victim’s never move past the past.
Second, Joseph never allowed heartache and pain to become the dominant factors of his life. Look back over the many hurts and injustices of Joseph’s life and under none of those unfair experiences did he ever throw in the towel and surrender to the hurt and pain. I love Joseph’s phrase in verse 20, “to accomplish what is now being done.” God gave Joseph the uncanny ability to live and see the opportunity of the “now.” Some of us never move past the initial hurt of our experience. We are like the golfer who never gets over one bad shot and it ruins an entire round. The only difference in some of our cases is it ruins an entire life. Here is a suggestion: give yourself an allotted time to grieve and be angry then move on to the next shot. You will never change your past but you can grow to see the opportunity of the “now.” Be like Joseph and don’t surrender!
Third, Joseph understood there is the opportunity for a greater good even in the most difficult of circumstances. We, like Joseph, must constantly believe that what the enemy means for evil and harm, God has the power to change, to work, to redeem and to accomplish a greater good that will bless and touch the lives of others.
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
This does not mean that we stand still waiting for God to miraculously bring that greater good into our lives. Notice the words in Romans 8:28, “God works.” For the greater good to happen we must join God in that work. Joseph saved many lives because he worked and planned throughout a great famine. The grain didn’t just happen to find its way into the vats. The greater good takes place when we are actively watching and working toward a greater good. In fact, the best way to prepare for the greater good is to start doing good; people who do good inadvertently make a positive difference in other person’s lives. Crazy to think that in our greatest pain and disappointment, God gives us a great capacity to do good; sounds just like God.