By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: Genesis 37:5-11, 19-27
William Cowper, likewise, writes these lines, “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face. His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; the bud may have a bitter taste but sweet will be the flow’r.”
These are just two men who illustrate beautifully what Joseph knew experientially to be true: God can turn the most bitterly awful betrayals into the most splendidly wonderful blessings.
It’s one thing to be betrayed or lied about by acquaintances but Joseph experienced betrayal by his own brothers. He was betrayed, forsaken, and sold by his own brothers.
I can’t imagine what Joseph must have felt. God, in His mercy, knew exactly what Joseph was feeling because that is exactly what Jesus would feel when He was betrayed, forsaken, and sold by those nearest Him.
Joseph’s suffering paints a beautiful picture of the grace God shows us in the suffering of His Son. Joseph’s story doesn’t end here.
He still has a lot of suffering to do but at the end of Joseph’s story we get to see how God not only used his suffering to elevate his position but change his heart, reconcile his family, and save the world as he knew it.
Suffering is inevitable in this life and even promised for the believer. We don’t get to choose whether or not we will experience suffering. No one, given the option, would choose sickness, betrayal, sorrow. We don’t get to choose whether we will suffer but we can choose how we respond to suffering.
We see Joseph consistently suffer in a myriad of ways with little hope ahead of him but not a single verse shows him complaining, throwing a tantrum, or hosting a pity party.
I can’t say he didn’t do those things but Scripture doesn’t say. We do see him totally surrendered to God’s good will through it all.
As the serenity prayer begs, “Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I must, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
May God grant us to trust His heart, even when we cannot trace His hand.
In the unexplainable sorrow and the incomprehensible pain you may face I can’t explain what God is doing but I can tell you that God is always God and God is always good.
May you, like Joseph, one day see how God’s hand was at work in your pain and rejoice. Even if you don’t, trust His heart and praise. B&R