Advent 3 – When Plans Change
Monday, December 17
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
You may know Joseph for his coat of many colors, but if you remember beyond the flashy musical numbers, you might recall that his life did not go as expected. As a child who could interpret dreams and was favored by his father, his jealous older brothers sold him into slavery and made his father believe he was dead. As a slave he continued to interpret dreams, until he eventually found favor with the Pharaoh of Egypt and was raised to a position of power. During that time, a severe famine affected the land, causing even the people of Canaan, Joseph’s hometown, to need to buy their grain from Egypt, which brought Joseph’s family back into his life once again.
Until this point in his story, I’d always imagined Joseph as bitter, betrayed, and balking, but faithful to God nonetheless. But when his family arrived hungry and didn’t recognize their estranged brother, Joseph’s perspective shifted and he saw new purpose and possibility in the cards he had been dealt. The actions of his brothers were no longer just rash jealousy—they were the inciting events that raised Joseph into a position to save his family and provide them with the food they needed to survive.
So when they came to Joseph after their father died, fearing that he might still be holding a grudge and plotting against them, he spoke those words of peace and wisdom in verse 20 to his brothers. Instead of condemnation and retribution, his message was one of forgiveness and kindness.
When we are in the middle of struggle and suffering it can be easy to settle into believing that people don’t change, wishing our lives were different, and reacting with our gut instead of responding with love. But Joseph’s story encourages us to look differently at our lives and see how God is working within and around us: to care for us, to heal our broken relationships, and to bring about peace and reconciliation. Where in your week have you seen something from a new perspective? How might God be working in that part of your life?
By Kelsey Battleson, High School/Young Adult Coordinator & God’s GALS Precept study