History makes the difference when feeling down
Have you ever asked, “Why did this have to happen to me?” or thought “Why does bad stuff happen to good people?”
When you feel like everyone else is getting all the breaks and you are left behind in the dirt, remember Joseph. The Joseph that comes to mind is the one considered to be the “Prince of Egypt.” His life started out well as the youngest of twelve brothers. His dad’s favoritism drew the anger of his brothers.
Joseph had the realization of his bad situation when his brothers threw him into a pit. Some traditions say Joseph was sold and resold as a slave four or five times. Our subject suffered so much sorrow and now his life seemed to rebound. He maintained a positive attitude. His boss, Potiphar established him as superintendent of the household. Then, Joseph was falsely accused by the boss’s wife as taking liberties with her. He lands in prison as an innocent man. He kept a good attitude.
While in prison, Joseph became responsible for the other prisoners. Joseph successfully interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s Chief Cupbearer who is released. His last request of the Cupbearer was remember me and help me get released from prison. It took two years before this remembrance made it to the Pharaoh. Finally, Joseph gains an audience with the Pharaoh and successfully interprets his dream. Joseph’s positive attitude is seen with his interaction with Pharaoh.
Joseph was elevated as the Vizier of Egypt and answered directly to the Pharaoh. Joseph recognized his brothers when they visited Egypt seeking food. I doubt many would be so gracious and forgiving after many years of harsh sadness, betrayal, and abandonment. Joseph’s attitude and understanding of all the terrible past is captured after his father dies. The brothers fear Joseph’s earlier forgiveness might only be for show in front of the father. True fear once again grips the brothers as they expect to finally receive the judgement they deserved.
The Bible recorded Joseph’s words, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, NIV). This insight was not expressed when Joseph landed in the pit as his brothers assaulted him. This insight didn’t find its way into Scripture during the various times he was sold as a slave or even during his temporary success in Potiphar’s household. This insight came from looking back on a “lifetime of perspective.” Often our attitude is the one variable we control amid our difficult circumstances.
The next time you wonder “Why is this happening to me?” remember our view and perspective is so much clearer with hindsight. History makes the difference.