In Joseph's Steps
One of the things which we as Christians have difficulty learning is that we are part of something bigger than ourselves - much bigger! We each tend to hold to a narrow and near-sighted view of life which centers around my life, my family, my health, my finances, my job, etc. Our prayers seem to gravitate to these things, and we wonder why God does not bless us more in these areas. Now, there’s nothing amiss in asking for God’s blessings in our personal life, but we should always keep in mind that He most likely has some other plans for us which go far afield of our small view of things.
Joseph is an excellent example of this. He was part of this nice little shepherding family which was well-to-do and quite richly blessed by God. Joseph had a father Jacob who favored him over his ten brothers because he was the son of his father’s true love Rachel. Well, the favoritism backfired. Joseph’s brothers got jealous and sold him to some slave traders who took him to Egypt. While there, Joseph did very well for a while, but he ended up in prison through no fault of his own. But the Lord God was with Joseph and gave him the interpretation of the dreams of two fellow prisoners and eventually for Pharaoh himself, whereby he came into favor and was appointed governor over all of Egypt. In this position, Joseph devised a plan by which all of Egypt and the world (including his own family) could stay alive through seven years of famine.
When Joseph was recalling all of this with his brothers, he said this: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” God’s hand was in Joseph’s life, and He used his suffering to bring about much good on a grand scale, even reaching into eternity. It has been said that if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. Remember, God has plans, too - other plans which reach beyond your own life - and you are right in the middle of them! Keep this in mind - God is always at work!