We will be posting a number of devotionals written by President Jul Medenblik for the Today series. This devotional originally appeared in the 2006 July – August volume for August 30.
Passage: Genesis 45:1-18
“ ‘It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.’ ” Genesis 45:5
In many of the conversations we’ve heard in Genesis, we have seen people at odds with one another: Cain and Abel, Sarai and Hagar, Jacob and Esau, and now Joseph and his brothers. Searching for food in Egypt, the sons of Jacob find their brother. And the brother whom they wanted to kill gives them a new life.
But something more is needed. Food will stave off the hunger pangs of the stomach, but more is needed to repair the heart. If you are nursing a grudge, your words will have a certain edge that aims to cut the other person. But if you have forgiveness in your heart, your words will aim for reconciliation.
Not only does Joseph speak words of forgiveness and reconciliation, he also speaks words of purpose. Joseph sees his pain and suffering in the context of God’s redemptive work.
Is there a purpose to pain and suffering? We don’t always see it. We may not know of any benefits, but Joseph invites us to see with eyes of faith.
God’s purposes are not always clear, but Joseph knows that God seeks to save. The twists and turns of his life have given Joseph the perspective to know that what God does is enough to satisfy the heart.
God cares. God saves. God is at work in this broken, hurting world.
O God, in the midst of suffering we may not see answers, but please help us to see that you are with us. May the work of Jesus lead us to trust you more and more. In his name, Amen.