“So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. . . . So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 45:4-8
When we read the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, we see an amazing story of redemption. We see a man who is sold into slavery by his own brothers, betrayed, and cast aside. That wouldn’t be the last of Joseph’s suffering though. Imagine the emotional pain that Joseph must have gone through being abandoned by his own family. Maybe some of you can relate to that in some way. Joseph is imprisoned for a crime he never committed. Injustice followed him. But as most of you know, things fell into place for Joseph. In every opportunity he had, Joseph glorified God through his actions, and eventually, Joseph found himself as ruler of Egypt. God was writing an incredible redemptive story in the life of Joseph.
Joseph is a great example to us in that even through all of his suffering, he did not turn away from God. I’m sure he was mentally and emotionally tortured thinking about the “why me?” of his situations, but he never turned his back on God. Rather, he kept pursuing God and God blessed him.
How often when we experience suffering do we immediately ask God “why me?” I mean, it’s a valid question if you think about it. Things are supposed to be fair right? I’m at church every Sunday. I teach Sunday School. I volunteer in the youth ministry. Fill in the blank with whatever sacrifices you make, whatever good things you do for God’s kingdom… So why me??
The New Testament writers tell us much about why we must endure suffering. James tells us in James 1:2-4 that our trials produce in us steadfastness and when steadfastness has it’s full effect, we become mature and complete, lacking nothing (paraphrased by me). In other words, it is through our trials that we choose faithfulness to God and we allow him to carry out His plan in our lives, or we turn away from God and never experience the maturity and completeness that He has planned for us. Is there a situation in your life right now that is stretching your faith? Remain steadfast! You are being made into exactly who God wants you to be! God is writing an incredible redemptive story about you!