When Joseph finally had the chance to talk to his brothers face to face after being thrown in a pit, sold as a slave, and then imprisoned by Pharoah, he looked them in the eye and said, “… You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result …” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
I want to look at life like Joseph did. I want to take unkind words from others and see them as teachable moments from God. I want to take bad decisions that I make or my children make and see them as opportunities to learn more about God’s grace. I want to take bad news and see the potential in it for bringing glory to God.
Do you have someone or something in your life that appears to be bent on bringing you down? Do you feel that your life seems to take one bad turn after another? If Joseph could sit down and have a cup of coffee with you, do you know what he would say? I do! He would tell you that what seems like evil against you now is actually going to be used by God to bring about a good result in the future!
Paul affirms this teaching when he tells us to “press on toward the prize.” If you have ever watched or ran in a long marathon, you know that the people running are not skipping and smiling as they near the finish line. Their faces are often grimaced in pain. Their muscles are twitching in pure agony. Finding a deep breath is often difficult. However, they press on knowing that the finish line is worth the race. This life is tough. We will all face challenges that seem bigger than we can bear. However, God promises in I Corinthians 13 to never give us more than we can handle. He is constantly working in us and through us to bring glory to His name.
I have had to learn through the years to let go of the past and to know that God meant it for good. I have had to learn that some people will never be nice, but God can teach me through their unkindness about how I can be nicer. I have had to learn that my children will make mistakes, and that I must extend grace to them just as God daily extends grace to me. I have learned that no matter how close I feel to God, I still disappoint Him many times with my actions or my words. In these moments, I am trying to learn that God is teaching me that to become like His Son is a 24/7 work. I cannot expect to become like Christ only by attending church or even by praying and reading the Bible once a day. Christianity is a 24/7 life journey.
Like Joseph, I want to see God’s Hand in every minute of my life. As 2008 gets underway, I commit to having a “Joseph-perspective” on this world. I am excited to see all the good God has planned!