Persecution & Suffering: 3

Most believers are familiar with the story of Joseph. He was unfairly sold into slavery by his brothers because of their envy. He was then unfairly imprisoned for doing what was right. Then he was forgotten by someone he helped in prison. Then, in the end, the Lord elevated him to a high position in the foreign land where he was living. Later, his brothers came to purchase food from him and they did not recognize him. He made himself known to them and then he said this in Genesis 45:5-8:

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.“

We read nearly the same statement by Joseph years later in Genesis 50:19-21. Joseph recognized God’s hand at work through all the injustice and defamation and suffering and separation from his family and homeland. He did not harbor anger or bitterness against the people who were God’s instruments in all those difficulties. His focus was on doing God’s work and pursuing God’s purposes whether he was a slave or in prison or in a position of great power and influence. He trusted God and was content to play whatever role God had for him and trust God’s goodness and timing no matter what the personal cost. May we do the same.