In this fallen and sinful world, pain and suffering will always be felt. Nothing in this world is promised to last forever. This world is a series of ups and downs which forms one into the person that they are supposed to be. Because of this sinful world, pain and betrayal are guaranteed to be felt, and unfortunately, those can be caused by the people that are closest and most important to someone. Pain is unavoidable, but with God’s strength and power, it can be overcome and the offenders can become the forgiven.
There are many ways to deal with pain, but there are ultimately two ways of dealing with it; one can either hold onto the pain and become bitter towards the offender and others, or one can forgive the offender, even without an apology and use pain and suffering to grow them and draw them closer to God. Therefore, allowing pain to better them as a person and teach them how to be more gentle and loving towards others.
Unfortunately, a lot of people choose to grasp tightly to the bitterness and see the darkness in the situation; but there are also the people who choose to let pain become their purpose, and that’s what one sees when reading the story of Joseph in The Bible. Joseph was seventeen years old and living in the land of Canaan with his father, Jacob, and his brothers. Joseph’s father loved him more than his other sons and gave him a robe which was made of many beautiful colors.
Now Joseph’s brothers knew that Joseph was the favorite of their father and that reality made them bitter and jealous towards Joseph. Their bitterness became so great that they took Joseph and sold him into slavery to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. The Ishmealites then took Joseph to Egypt. Joseph was betrayed by all of his brothers whom he loved. Joseph had never done anything to hurt his brothers, yet, their jealousy of him was great enough to betray him. Not only was Joseph betrayed by his brothers, but he was also thrown into prison for a false accusation made by Potipher’s wife. Through all of this, Joseph never blamed God; his faith stood firm in the Lord, knowing that this was all part of God’s greater plan. That didn’t take away the pain that he was feeling, but rather, gave him hope.
After time passed, through God’s faithfulness, Joseph was released from prison and became second in command to Pharaoh. Through the good and the bad, Joseph never forgot to acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (ESV Bible, ESV, Gen. 41:52). Joseph never took credit for his accomplishments and all glory went to God, for he knew that only God was able to get him to this place of joy and contentment. A severe famine came over the earth and many people came to Egypt to purchase grain from Joseph, who had been prepared due to God interpreting Pharaoh’s dream through him. This famine was in the land of Canaan and Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to get some food for them. Joseph’s brothers appear in Egypt and Joseph recognizes them immediately but his brothers do not recognize him, for many years had passed. Joseph doesn’t immediately reveal his identity, and his emotions take over for awhile and he goes alone to weep, which is heard by all of the Egyptians. Instead of pouring out anger and hurt towards his brothers, Joseph asks everyone in the room to leave so that he may be alone with his brothers so that he can reveal his identity to them in private.
By this time, Joseph must have already forgiven his brothers and chosen to let his pain become his motivation to love God and others more. After revealing his identity, Joseph’s brothers could not speak, and instead of Joseph pouring out the hurt and anger that the betrayal of his brothers caused him, Joseph, forgives and in a way, thanks them. “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (ESV Bible, ESV, Gen. 45:5). Joseph doesn’t make them feel guilty or wait for them to apologize, but Joseph acknowledges God’s greater plan and showed them love. Only God is capable of bringing someone to that point in their hurt. Joseph’s brothers didn’t deserve to be forgiven, but because Joseph walked with God and trusted God over his own understanding, God gave Joseph the strength to forgive even before his brothers were sorry. As if forgiveness and mercy towards Joseph’s brothers wasn’t enough, Joseph also provides for them and gives them the food that they need. “Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him” (ESV Bible, ESV, Gen. 45:14-15).
God was always active and working in Joseph’s life, even when Joseph couldn’t see or feel it. Joseph could’ve lived his life in hurt and bitterness because of the way he was treated by his brothers. Joseph could’ve hurt his brothers and punished them when he saw them, but Joseph let God guide his every step. Joseph let God be in control his emotions. Joseph’s brothers’ purpose was to hurt and destroy him, but God’s plan was to not only save, but restore Joseph and his brothers’ relationship, and Joseph trusted God’s plan. God doesn’t call his people to understand his plans, but he does call them to trust in Him. And God never said that it would be easy, but He did say that he would give his people the strength that they need to trust Him, and that was shown all throughout Joseph’s story.