Scripture: Genesis 45:1-15
Key verses: (7-8) “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
Reflection: In today’s passage, the saga of Joseph draws toward a close. Joseph was the favorite son of his father Israel, the dreamer who believed that one day his brothers would bow down to him, the recipient of the fancy coat his father gave him. Joseph’s brothers were jealous and conspired to kill him. But brother Reuben intervened to save his life so they ended up throwing him into a pit and then selling him to a caravan of traders. Joseph was a slave in Egypt, rising in power and prominence because he was able to interpret dreams. Eventually his wisdom put him in command over all the land of Egypt, gathering food during bountiful years to be stored for future years of famine. When famine arrived, Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt to ask for help. They did not recognize their brother, and he seemed to play with them like a cat playing with a mouse.
Finally, in chapter 45, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. He makes a tremendous statement of faith, that God has used his journey to work out something good. Joseph is able to look back over his life, even with the horrible actions of his brothers and with his personal struggles, and see that God has been at work.
When bad things happen, I cannot claim that God caused them to happen. I can never look at someone grieving a tragedy and tell them glibly that God has a plan. I cannot draw those conclusions about anyone else’s journey.
However, I think God gives us the gift of faithful hindsight to look back at our own lives and see how God has been on the journey with us. Faithful hindsight enables us to see how God has used things that have happened to equip us in new ways to serve him. There are two important keys to that truth: first, it’s usually understood in hindsight, not in the present tense (when it sounds dismissive of someone’s pain) and second, it’s claimed by the individual themselves and not by those around them. Joseph is a role model of faithful hindsight for all of us when we look back to see what God might do with the realities of our life journeys.
Prayer: Thank you for promising to be with me, O God, no matter what I face or how far I wander. Give me faithful hindsight to see how you have worked in my life and how you have equipped me to serve you. Use me for your kingdom. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].