And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:5
Under what conditions could I say to the one who betrayed me, “Don’t be upset with yourself because you hurt me. God’s wonderful plan eclipses all of it.” Oftentimes, I can see some good that God has brought out of betrayal but I still want the one who inflicted harm to remember and live in regret! Joseph, though, had a kind of mercy that wanted his offenders to know joy after remorse. (And remember that Joseph first tested them to know if remorse was present.)
Perhaps I don’t really understand what it means when God promises that all things will work together for my good. My good is supposed to be synonymous with His good. I have been called according to His purpose. Joseph wasn’t brought to power to compensate for the pain he suffered. The story wasn’t about Joseph but about God’s plan to save His people. Joseph was privileged to play a part in God’s redemptive story. Joseph’s goal was not to receive validation from old family biases.
I am considering the largest wounds of my life. I can think of two. Has God worked things together for good? Yes. But have I interpreted Romans 8:28 to include my own vindication? Or, do I see that the wounds I sustained were for God to bring about a larger plan of redemption? I can edify the church. I can bring wisdom to the next generation in my family so they can secure their spiritual calling. The possibilities are limitless for what ‘called according to His purpose’ means.
I must love God more than myself. I must realize that I’m not the point of my own story. I will wait forever to see things work together for good if I think God is going to reward me now for what I’ve suffered, if I believe that God is going let me see justice now for the evil done against me, and/or if I feel entitled to vindication now. Today, yet again, I offer Him my story for inclusion into the narrative of the kingdom.
The miracle of Joseph’s story was not that he was promoted to power in Egypt. It was the stunning work of grace, humility, and wisdom brought about as he waited for redemption. Not visible to human eyes, Joseph and God dialogued, wrestled, communed, and birthed a faith that not only forgave a family of wrongdoing but also made it possible for them to live in the joy of God’s extravagant mercy.
In whatever ways my perspective needs more truth, bind my mind to Yours, Lord. Amen