Joseph thought he could forget his past. Even if his brothers had sold him into slavery, and he spent years in prison as an innocent man, now he was the second highest leader in Egypt. He could truly say, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” (Genesis 41:51) He had conquered his pain.
Twenty-two years later he meets his brothers, and Joseph realizes nothing has been dealt with. He is so confused he throws his brothers into prison for three days. It takes Joseph several years before he says, “Brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:19)
Joseph faced his past. I have had to as well, and get to that same final point. God takes evil, and uses it for good.
Ten years ago I put a verse on the kitchen cupboard. “Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:6) Every time I felt scared I ran to that verse, sometimes a dozen times a day. In my heart I reached up to God, and he gave me the strength to keep going.
That verse fell off three weeks ago. I put it up. It fell off again. I thought that God might want me to live a deeper faith, not through a verse, but directly with him. I struggled to hang on.
Yesterday a lady stopped me. “I have something for you,” she said. She showed me some words she had written in a notebook. “Don’t fear, have faith. It is I who lead the way.” I wrote those words down, put them up on the kitchen cupboard. Thank you, God.
Just yesterday I received bad news. It so crushed me, I slumped to the floor in tears. It felt as if a hand had slid inside my chest, squeezing life from my heart. “Don’t you have any words of encouragement for me?” I asked my husband.
“I don’t know what to say. But, I can read the Bible to you.”
He opened to 2 Corinthians 4. “…The One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive.” (verse 14, The Message)
If God could give Jesus breath again, he can make us live again. Of all the things I have learned about suffering, this one is the simplest – if I am still breathing, I LIVE… And if that is true, there is hope.