A famine envelops the land, people are going hungry and a tribe of people are in great need. The word is out on the street that there was a people preparing for this moment and they had more than enough to share. In humility, a band of brothers come to town in the hope of acquiring enough goods to sustain them through this famine. Genesis 42:8 states, Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him.
It is a moment of pure power. Will Joseph be true to his character or will he pay back the pain he was given? Let’s be honest for a moment…who wouldn’t have thought about a moment to get even? When we are deeply wounded, we desire sacrifice. Yet our scriptures declare that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. What does that mean when we come face to face with one who drastically changed our lives? Do we show mercy? In theory, this is simple to say yes to…in practice, well, quite hard!
To be fair, Joseph plays some games with his brothers. He sends for their youngest brother (Joseph’s full-brother, Benjamin); he tests their honesty; and ultimately shares his true identity. He declares, I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives…God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. Mercy enacted. Grace extended. Forgiveness long before granted. Love overcoming hurt, anger, pain and dysfunction.
The family has a grand reunion, Jacob overflows with joy, the dream of Joseph’s childhood comes true and the family lives happily ever after…yes, like a fairy tale! Yet there is a statement of Joseph’s that summarizes the mystery of faith…
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
What a statement of grace! How have painful moments been transformed for good? When we allow healing to come, forgiveness to be granted, God has a way of bringing good from that which seems so bad. May you find that healing of soul and live into your truest self, filled with blessings and gifts, beyond measure!