Daily D – Genesis 50:19-21
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. GENESIS 50:19-21 (CSB)
One of the most moving scenes ever written is this one. It is the reckoning of a lifetime. A band of brothers who had led less than exemplary lives comes to settle once and for all their past mistreatment of their brother who was living the life of God’s dreams for him. Of course, they told one last lie.
Joseph, luckily for his brothers, held a different perspective on all the pain and problems of his life they set in motion. They meant to harm him, yes. They intended to get rid of him, true. More true: Our Father had a bigger plan, a better purpose, and he worked it out in spite of the brothers’ ill intentions.
Joseph’s brothers wondered, “What will happen to us now that our father is dead?” Joseph did what he always did. He asked, “What does this make possible?”
As a slave in Potiphar’s house, he made himself highly valuable. As a prisoner in the dungeon, he added value to the warden. As a fellow prisoner, he provided wise guidance through dream interpretation for Pharaoh’s chef and sommelier. As second in command to Pharaoh, he saved a nation from starvation, he saved his family, and he consolidated Pharaoh’s control of the country.
Joseph was a glass half full kind of guy. He would probably tell you the glass was full. It was half full of liquid and the remainder was filled with air. Water and air are God’s good gifts and those gifts make life possible.
Some people clutch and cling to what they have. Joseph learned early on not to cling to robes of many colors. He learned that what we call our own can be taken from us. He also learned that he who owns it all can replace what we lose with more than we imagine possible.
We will meet Moses soon. Three chapters from now in Exodus, God will ask him, “What do you have in your hand?” Another man who had lost it all will discover God can do more with a wooden staff than we could with all the tea in China and all the wealth our government continues giving away in one stimulus after another.
Assess your circumstances and ask the God-honoring question, “What does this make possible?” Shape it into a prayer. Turn it into a lifestyle. Some people may intend to hurt you. God intends to bless you. Pain with perspective becomes opportunity.
I will see problems as opportunities.
Our Father, here we are. What does this make possible? According to your plan, considering your purpose, by your grace, and in your mercy, what does this make possible? How will you take our current circumstances and use them to bless the world? We will cooperate with you in your revolutionary reorientation. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.