From Grant to You – Resilience of Joseph
Perhaps one of the greatest stories of resilience in the Scriptures is that of Joseph. As we think of Joseph’s life, we see that he experienced great extremes – he was his father’s favourite child but his brothers hated him; he went from a privileged life (that’s what the special coat was all about) to being sold into slavery in Egypt; he became trusted in his new life as he supervised Potiphar’s house but then was betrayed and left to rot in jail. After waiting years in jail, he was released and overnight became second-in-charge in all of Egypt at age 30, some 13 years after being sold to the slave traders.
What was Joseph thinking about God through all this? Betrayed, exiled, enslaved and imprisoned, Joseph could have felt that God had abandoned or forgotten him.
As Joseph’s story progresses, we see that his brothers eventually came to Egypt looking for famine relief. Joseph revealed himself to them and forgives them. He acknowledges that “it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Genesis 45:5). In this insight to Joseph’s thinking, we see that he had come to understand that God had not abandoned him, and that God had been in control through all his hardships. Indeed, it was only because of the terrible circumstances that his family survived.
God is in control of all things. He is absolutely sovereign. God is not the author of sin, but He works all things for good. He is intimately involved in every part of our life, and He works it out for our good (Romans 8:28).
Knowing that God is sovereign helps us to be more resilient. It can be hard when we are suffering to have this perspective. The problem or pain that is filling our present life can blind us to trusting God’s purposes. We often think we should not have any problems. But this is not reality. While ever there is sin in the world, ours and everyone else’s, there will be problems.
So let me encourage you to pray wise prayers, asking God to do His work through the problem and to help us cling to Him in the midst of it, knowing that it will be for our good even if we do not know how. As we are enabled to do that by the Holy Spirit, noting that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13), we will become more like Christ, and we will be more resilient.