After the funeral, the group of brothers huddled together, whispering. Some were fearful, while others seemed resigned to their fate. Shaking his head, the eldest said, “come, surely there is a way that we can deal with this problem without losing our lives.” So a story was fabricated by them that reflected their lives of lies and deception. It seemed that even now, they were more comfortable with a lie than the truth.
Joseph listened as his brothers said, “just before dad died, he told us to tell you to be kind to us and not punish us for what we did to you in the past.”
Joseph’s response surprised them all. “Do not fear, for am I God? God used the evil you did against me to save many people. God took your lives, your choices, and deception, and used it for good.”
Fred and I like to walk down the road from our house. Since the fall season is upon us, we often remark about the leaves’ colors on the trees. Several have already been turning to a beautiful copper color. Recently one twisted and gnarled tree stood out to us. It was a crabapple full of tiny apples. We stopped walking and looked at it. It was growing at an odd angle, bent and distorted, yet beautiful. It was full of tiny red apples. I wondered what kind of weather or situation had caused the tree to become misshapen. Had it been blown over by a flash flood? Did it survive an icy, windy snowstorm? Regardless of its past, it was fruitful. It was full of apples and very beautiful.
I couldn’t help but think as I looked at the tree how beautiful it was despite its past. Obviously, it had lived a hard life, and yet there it was in all of its beauty bearing fruit. I could say the same about you. You have been through so much. Life may have twisted you, and the winds of sorrow have blown over you, and yet you can still bear fruit. You are beautiful. With its ups and downs, your past has formed you into who you are. Dear friend, let me speak to you right now, as Joseph spoke to his brothers, “Yes, you made mistakes, but what the devil intended to destroy you, God has turned for your good. All of those bad things that have happened in your life have no evil power in the hands of God. Don’t give up. You haven’t made too many mistakes that God will not forgive. You haven’t been rejected, but rather, you are wanted and loved. God knows how to take the hard things in your life, your choices, hurts, sorrows, and failures and make them into a person of fruitfulness and beauty. That person is you.”
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. ESV