Sheryl’s brother, John, lives in Missouri. He is outside of Tornado Alley, yet he is no stranger to storms that drop down out of nowhere & cause total devastation. As a former volunteer fire chief, he has seen entire communities leveled & helped families sift through the rubble searching for any remnant of their homes. It is heart-wrenching work.
Truth is, no one is immune from crisis. We may not have lost a home or encountered a tornado, but we have all felt the devastating winds of hard times. We have all found ourselves rocked by a storm of life & been left picking up the pieces.
Here is one thing we can be sure of: even though we may be caught off guard or surprised by a crisis, God is not. In fact, God is never surprised by any problem we have.
As we conclude our look at the life of Joseph, we can see how God prepared & led him in both the good times & the hard times. God is always working, & He has a plan to see us through any crisis. While our problems may seem huge, God is bigger than anything that may happen to us. We can trust God’s plan to overcome.
For 17 years, Jacob lived in Egypt with all his sons & their families. He had previously considered his life hard & difficult, but his final years were spent in security with his sons. After Jacob died, his 12 sons took his body back home & buried him with his wife & ancestors.
His sons could not bury the past, however. The brothers once again felt shame & fear because of how they treated their brother Joseph in their youth. After the loss of their father, they became afraid that Joseph would finally seek his revenge.
< Genesis 50:15-17a >
For his part, Joseph had cared for his family for 17 years, continually ensuring their safety & provision. Every indication is that the family - & everyone in it – greatly prospered under Joseph’s watchful care. Even so, the whirlwind of fear & the storm of disgrace threatened the fabric of healing that had covered them for so many years.
Afraid at first to come in person, the brothers sent a somewhat deceitful message to Joseph to again seek his forgiveness for their terrible sin. This was potentially dangerous, given their history. The Bible tells us that Satan roams about like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour. He looks for any crack – any way he can enter in, steal our peace, & cause alarm. The brothers had lost their peace.
To be fair, they could have chosen to plot against Joseph again, but they didn’t. Apparently, they had finally learned their lesson. Instead, they sought forgiveness – again – for what they had done. And as they did, they acknowledged they had sinned.
Joseph was tremendously affected by the confession of his brothers. After all these years, they still had such fear of him & thought he had not truly forgiven them. Joseph discovered that reassurance was still needed.
Past issues often have a way of coming back around again – especially if we haven’t completely dealt with them. The key to surviving a return attack of the enemy is to deal with it head on. Take determined action not to allow past hurts & issues to regain traction or grow within you again.
< Genesis 50:17b-19 >
In Genesis 37, Joseph had dreamed that his brothers would bow before him. That dream was fulfilled when his brothers first stood before him seeking grain in Genesis 42. At that time, they bowed before him out of respect for his office; but now years later, they bowed before him in fear. They entered Joseph’s presence & offered themselves as his slaves.
In other words, they recognized that they belonged to Joseph. They had been captured by their own actions & lies years earlier, & holding on to our fears always makes us slaves to those fears.
Joseph could have allowed himself to become enslaved. His brothers were enslaved to fear, & he could have joined them by being enslaved to bitterness or a desire for revenge. But Joseph refused to be shackled again.
Instead, Joseph humbled himself before God, recognizing that it was not his place to punish his brothers. He refused to turn his back on what God had shown him so many years before – that God was in control & had brought him to Egypt to save his family.
To trust is to commit one’s care or keeping to another. The life of Joseph demonstrates over & over again that God can be trusted. We can commit our care & keeping to God. In legal terms, a trust is a relationship between parties in which one person, the trustee, has the power to manage, & the other person, the beneficiary, has the privilege of receiving the benefits.
Joseph decided early in his life to make God his Trustee & to live as God’s beneficiary. By allowing God to control the consequences of his brother’s actions, Joseph freed himself from the bondage of revenge. It is better to trust God to be God & let God do what needs to be done. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19: Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord.
< Genesis 50:20-21 >
Notice that Joseph did not dismiss what his brothers had done all those years before. He described their plan as evil. But he also recognized that God had His own plan. God worked in spite of the brother’s hatred, transforming the mistreatment of Joseph into deliverance for a nation, rescue for a family, & eventually salvation for all people.
Truly, God intended good to come from their actions – the salvation of many people.
Joseph could now see the big picture. God had worked for good in his life, & Joseph intended to do the same. Don’t be afraid. I’ll take care of you & your children. Joseph didn’t roll his eyes at his brothers’ long-standing fear. Instead, he put them at ease & spoke reassuringly to them. His words & actions spoke kindness. Joseph brought them strength & encouragement.
When I read the story of Joseph, I am reminded of Jesus – the beloved Son of our Heavenly Father. Jesus stood before the nation of Israel & offered them life. When the religious leaders saw the love the people had for Jesus, they became jealous & put together a plan to murder him. But God had a different plan. He took the hate of those leaders & used it to extend grace to a lost & dying world.
As Jesus’ earthly ministry was nearing its end, he sat down for a meal with his disciples. At that last meal, he laid the future out for them. He told them: Don’t be troubled or afraid. Jesus also called them to be encouraged. J knew the big picture & desired for his followers – including us – to trust him.
What does it look like to actively trust God in your everyday life? Here are 3 signs:
Submit to Jesus. Submit your life to Jesus Christ & receive forgiveness for your sins.
Be courageous. Once you turn your life over to Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to dwell within you. You can then identify an area of your life in which fear has held you back. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you let go of that fear & move forward with confidence according to God’s plan.
Spread the word. Write down a time when you benefitted from trusting God. Then share that story with someone else.
God is real, & God is really in control during the hard times of our lives. And the good times! Even when we cannot see the big picture, God can see it. God knows the storms we will face, & God is worthy of our trust.
Submit to Jesus today. Here’s how:
God loves you & wants you to know Him personally
Acknowledge that you are sinful & that sin separates you from God
Accept that Jesus Christ is the only solution to our sin
Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord & Savior in faith through this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life & receive you as my Savior & Lord. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins & giving me eternal life. Take control of my life, & make me the person you want me to be. Amen.