It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Genesis 45:5
After three decades, Feng Lulu was reunited with her birth family. As a toddler, she was kidnapped while playing outside her house, but through the help of All-China Women’s Federation, she was finally located. Because she was so young when she was abducted, Feng Lulu doesn’t remember it. She grew up believing she’d been sold because her parents couldn’t afford to keep her, so learning the truth surfaced many questions and emotions.
When Joseph was reunited with his brothers, it’s likely he experienced some complex emotions. He’d been sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt as a young man. Despite a series of painful twists and turns, God propelled Joseph to a position of authority. When his brothers came to Egypt to buy food during a famine, they—unwittingly—sought it from him.
Joseph acknowledged that God redeemed their wrongdoing, saying He used it to “save [their] lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7). Yet Joseph didn’t redefine their hurtful actions toward him—he described them accurately as “selling [him]” (v. 5).
We sometimes try to put an overly positive spin on difficult situations, focusing on the good God brings from them without acknowledging the emotional struggle. Let’s take care not to redefine a wrong as being good simply because God redeemed it: we can look for Him to bring good from it while still recognizing the pain wrongdoing causes. Both are true.
When have you experienced hardship as a result of another’s wrongdoing? How have you seen God bring good from it?
Father God, thank You for lovingly tending to my wounds.
Joseph was betrayed by his jealous brothers, sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, and forgotten by the people he helped. But God was with him and made him the second most powerful man in Egypt (Genesis 41:39–40; Acts 7:9–10). When reconciling with his estranged brothers, Joseph acknowledged God’s sovereign plans in his life (Genesis 45:5–7). He later affirmed again that God ultimately overrules human sin for His glory and our good (50:20). The apostle Paul also acknowledged God’s sovereignty: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).