“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (Full context: Genesis 37, 42-45, 50:15-26)
The story of Joseph spans over twelve chapters of the book of Genesis! We have three chapters about Noah, and less than two about the garden of Eden, but we get TWELVE chapters about the dramatic story of betrayal, mercy and rescue that is the story of Joseph. (This is not to be confused with the Joseph who is the adoptive father of baby Jesus – totally different guy.)
There is one chapter in Joseph’s story that means the most to me – the prison years. We don’t know exactly how long Joseph waited in prison but we know it might’ve been as long as 12 years! (12 again!) What were those years like for him? We know God was with him and showed him kindness even in prison (Genesis 39:21), but we also know he must have longed for the songs and smells of home. He must have felt the deep ache of being betrayed by his brothers and estranged from his beloved father. What did he think when he remembered the strange dreams of his youth and imagined the weight on his shoulders from his specially ornamented coat? How did all of this fit together into the story God was writing? What were his hopes for the future?
Our lives feel this way. We don’t know how the dark chapters will fit into the bigger story God is writing in our lives. But we know that while we linger in the dark, the Lord is WITH US, just like he was with Joseph in prison. In our own broken dreams, we can trust that we are not yet at the end of the story God is writing for us. Because our God is a God of RESCUE and MERCY. He intends all the struggles to result in goodness and the saving of many lives. The ultimate blessing that comes from Joseph’s saga is the lineage of Jesus, our Savior and King. Let’s turn to him and trust that even the painful parts of our story are intended for good, and that even in dark times God is with us.
Ornament Credit: Beki Eikum