If you are like me, you can look back over your life and point out some specific times of difficulty. Those times where you struggled to maintain an attitude that glorified God in the midst of a major life struggle. Or the times when you cried out to God pleading for answers and comfort when things didn’t seem to make sense. Thinking back on those times, maybe you can even feel your skin prickle or your heart beat a little faster. Joseph had an abundance of those times in his life. The suffering was great and the reasons for it seemed senseless. However, it was not senseless and God had a greater plan. Within this passage we have a window into the culmination of decades of struggle and pain as Joseph is reunited with his family. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be in the shoes of Joseph having suffered so much injustice and sorrow at the hands of his family only to have them unknowingly come to seek his help. Would I make myself known or stay hidden? Would I give them the help they desperately needed or turn them away in bitterness? Joseph chooses forgiveness. He chooses to reach out in love and showcase God’s greater plan, explaining to them that God has used the suffering for good.
Joseph’s brothers were naturally terrified and speechless at the sight of Joseph as he revealed himself to them. It must have been a dramatic scene as Joseph was wailing so loudly that those out of the room could hear him. He was overcome with emotion as he tried his best to calm his brothers and show them how God had protected him and provided opportunities for redemption. Through his difficult circumstances people would be saved. Though his suffering lives would be changed. He could have easily lashed out in anger at his brothers but he did the opposite. He says in Genesis 45:5, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” He showed them grace, mercy, and love as he led them to reconciliation.
I pray as we face suffering and difficulty in this life that we remain faithful to our Lord. I pray that we understand His ability to redeem our suffering for His glory. Let us look at those times in our lives as opportunities to grow close to Him and extend grace to those around us. In this broken world where nothing seems to make sense and the suffering seems senseless, let us remember that God’s plan is greater and His purposes are are powerful.