If you haven’t read Kim’s post from Monday, please take 2 minutes and do it. She does a great job explaining the basis of the forgiveness that Joseph offered his brothers and why we should strive for the same attitude. There is something else in this passage that I want to shine some light on for a moment. In chapter 50, we hear from Joseph in verse 20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” This is an amazing statement about God that if you and I really grasp it, could transform our lives. Joseph has endured abandonment, injustice, loneliness and isolation. Many people would emerge from such circumstances with anger and bitterness toward those who orchestrated the pain, including God who allowed the problems to take place. While anger and bitterness here might be understandable, Joseph reminds us that they are out of place for a follower of Jesus. The reason is simple, God is sovereign and at work in any and every situation. Joseph’s statement is a profound truth that transforms us from being victims to being active participants in God’s work. It doesn’t matter whether we understand what God is doing – we can trust that He is active and working to accomplish His unique purposes in and through us no matter what! In Romans we have this idea fleshed out this way:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them…If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?...Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:28-39 selected verses.