“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5)
In this verse it becomes clear that Joseph understands why all that happened to him was meant to be. It is one thing for the brothers to understand but for the one who was betrayed, mistreated and abused to be at peace with it is profound. At some point, he came to understand his role in the prophecy that had been given to Abraham in which he was told that his descendants were to descend into Egypt (Gen. 15:13). Joseph came to understand that “God sent me first in order to preserve life.” In other words, Jospeh had to “die” in order for Israel to live.
It is our nature to determine whether things are “good” or “bad” based on how it appeals to our flesh. If it doesn’t appeal to us, it is bad; if it soothes our flesh, it is good. However, in God’s economy, it is not this way. God very seldom, if ever, speaks to us in a way that soothes our flesh. Typically, His Word offends our flesh and that is why it is so difficult to abide by His Word in our own power. The point I’m making is that, what we would commonly refer to as “good,” God might consider to be “bad.” The same is true for what we regard as “bad”: God might consider it to be “good.”
Joseph had to endure a lot of bad things but, in the end, it was in the interests of God’s people for him to endure these trials. Likewise, we too are expected to endure suffering and trials — bad stuff, so to speak — in order that our flesh will be provoked to die. If we are willing to do this, we know that very good things will come from it. Remember that the next time you are tempted to think that what you’re going through is bad; it might just be your perspective of things and not that of our Creator.
Blessings and Shalom,