Hope With a Long Shelf Life


“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV

 In one of the most emotionally charged scenes in the entire Bible, we become the ‘fly on the wall’ and witness it firsthand. Joseph, now the second in command in all Egypt, confronts his brothers with their treachery against him years before when they sold him into slavery.

 The pathos and irony of this moment are not lost on us as we watch awareness dawn in the eyes of Joseph’s siblings and they struggle to equate his man of immense power over their lives with the idealistic young brother they hated so many years before. The tables are now turned and justice is about to be played out.

They stand terrified in fear and confusion.

Then with emotions no longer containable, Joseph shares with them the breathtaking news that their despicable actions had teamed up with God’s loving design and was actually going to bless them. Justice hasn’t just been postponed, it’s been swallowed in the immensity of God’s loving plan.

But here’s a question I have about this core belief of Joseph … that God turned potential harm into life-changing good. When did he acquire it? Did it just dawn on him at that moment in a burst of spiritual insight?

Or did he nurture it in the pit awaiting his possible execution? Did he consider it when unjustly going to prison for something he didn’t do? Was his theology being formed during those long years of incarceration when any hope of the promise of leadership given him as a young boy seemed further and further from fulfillment?

When God says that the check is in the mail, and it doesn’t come for weeks or months or even years … must that destroy hope? Or can hope survive depressive delay? Faith that is dismantled in the face of obstacles and disappointments is not really faith at all.

This week ask God for the hope that outlasts all competitors. Ask Him for faith that sees the promise clear through to the glorious fulfillment. Ask for an increase in the size of your ‘trust capacitor.’

God did get Joseph from the pit to the throne, but it was the intensity of the journey that made him fit to rule.

 May you find joy for your journey!

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