One thing I love about the Christian faith is the way God takes bad things and turns them into good things. Joseph had been through a rough time as a betrayed brother, slave and prisoner, but God had used his placement in Egypt, and the skills he had developed in these environments to make him good and ready for the job of saving the world.
I often think the problem with our politicians and top business people, is that many of them have come from comfortable homes, high earning jobs, with well-educated intelligent brains. These ones have had everything at their disposal to help them achieve, and have absolutely no idea of the privileges they have been blessed with. Ok, one or two of them have dragged themselves up out of the gutter; but there are few ‘self-made’ people who have not had a little helping hand along the way, and every one of them has been given a good brain, and the ability to get on. Those to whom success has come may have little understanding of those who struggle to live efficient lives. Sometimes we need to suffer a little to understand a lot.
For Joseph’s brothers the light suddenly came on. Three days in a prison helped them realize what they had put their own brother through. Serious remorse set in as the memories of their despicable behaviour flooded their thoughts (Genesis 42:21-22). Compassion in retrospect! Too late to save Joseph from all the horrible things he’d had to endure, but not too late to change their ways.
This change of heart was everything Joseph was hoping for. The emotion overwhelmed him, as he now knew that his brothers were worth owning and forgiving. They were no longer jealous youths; they were family men. There was hope for family restoration. There was still a long journey to go for these men to complete their transformations. It would take a little more angst, a little more pressure before they would have the compassionate hearts that Joseph wished for them, and he was working on that.
In the same way, God sees me as a work in progress. Yes, it’s good to know that God is in control, and will take the rubbish in my life and turn it into something good. Through the difficulties, I may be in a position to help someone else, and also, maybe I need to learn something new, grow a bit more; and when the pressure is on, I’m a quick learner!