Enough Grace for You
Do you ever feel like life is difficult? That the circumstances you were given have been less than ideal? I can relate. I think a lot of us can. However, even in the worst of circumstances, God never leaves us. We can see this in Joseph’s testimony. He was sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver, framed, thrown into prison, and forgotten. For many years he suffered and struggled, all the while, being away from his family - knowing that his own brothers caused the beginning of his circumstances. Nevertheless, Joseph remained obedient.
What I love about Joseph is his resilience and the way in which he foreshadows our Savior to come. In Genesis 49 and 50, we see the end of Jacob’s life. Jacob, Joseph’s father, was a man who wrestled with God in many ways. He was a sinner, yet he was also redeemed. (Umm, hello! This is me). Anyways, right before he died, he gave his final blessings to each child (which some were not so blessed), and he also declared his burial requests. The last verse of Genesis says, “When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people” (33). After he died, Joseph’s brothers, who sold him into slavery, feared that Joseph would hold a grudge and would repay them for the suffering they had caused him. Therefore his brothers made a plan; they wrote a letter to Joseph saying, “Before he died your father gave a command: ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin – the suffering they have caused you.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father” (Genesis 50:17).
When Joseph read the letter he wept. He was torn up over the fact that his brothers didn’t trust him. “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).
There are three things that stand out to me in this passage:
Joseph had forgiven his brothers. Yet, they didn’t believe it. That caused Joseph to weep. Jesus, God in human form, died for our sin. He shed blood to cover our sin. Yet, do we believe it? Do we believe it enough to trust Him with our lives? Or are we stuck in our sin, believing that His blood is not enough to cover us? I imagine that when we doubt our salvation in Christ, He feels a lot like Joseph did with his brothers’ note. I imagine He weeps with our doubt that He hasn’t finished it. In Jesus, and Jesus alone, we are forgiven. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). His grace is enough for us. Like Joseph assured his brothers that he had forgiven them, Jesus assures us through His own suffering and blood that He’s got us covered. He will take care of us and our little ones, just as Joseph promised his brothers.
Joseph’s attitude and heart were commendable. He could have had a “Why me?” attitude. He could have turned his back against God, asking “Why would God ‘let’ these terrible, awful things happen to me?” He could have recounted every good deed he’s ever done and thrown that back at God, questioning his faith, existence, and love. He was clearly a loving son and had found favor with his father. He was respected. He made good choices. Though his earthly circumstances were less than ideal, and I am sure not how he had imagined or planned, he didn’t do this. He chose to remain faithful and obedient. And the beautiful thing about this choice was that despite his terrible circumstances, God never left him. Genesis 39:21 says, “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him.” The same is true for us. Despite our best and worst circumstances, God is always with us. My favorite part of this passage is when Joseph said, “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result” (20). Paul affirmed this truth in Romans 8:28 when he wrote, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Girl - our circumstances, the really hard ones, the ones that make us doubt - they work for GOOD. The evil that Satan plans against us – God plans it for GOOD. That “terrible” person in your life who seems to always be working against you – you know who I’m talking about – God will use their evil tactics against you for GOOD. No one can override God and His plans – but we must remain an active participant in our relationship with Him and continue to be obedient through all circumstances.
Lastly, the forgiveness piece. Joseph wept when he received the letter from his brothers. He asked them “Am I in the place of God?” He had clearly forgiven them and refused to put himself in God’s position of judgment. Are we doing that? You know that person we just talked about? The difficult one who is always offering backhanded compliments or making passive aggressive comments – have we let go? Have we forgiven the ones who have done us wrong - who have hurt us? Can we remove ourselves from the pedestal of judgment and let the work that Christ did cover them? Because the reality is, despite how we personally feel about each individual in our life, Christ died for them too. He offered salvation for them just as freely as it came to us. That’s a hard one, right?
Y’all, we can learn a lot from Joseph. We can see that he foreshadowed a greater King to come. We can see a redemption plan that stemmed from heartache and separation that ends in reunification and peace.
Wherever you are in life right now, whatever hard thing you are facing or walking through, remember that “We are able to do all things through Him who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). He planned, He came, and He conquered so we can live freely and eternally in Him. What a gift that is.
“My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life” Psalm 63:3