January 12, 2016

Life is not fair but...

Genesis 37-41, Romans 8:28-29
She was short, spunky, and elderly. Her name escapes me, but her wisdom is remembered. She pointed her finger at people and said, "Life is not fair, but God is good!"  
This is illustrated in the life of Joseph. He suffered injustice after injustice, yet persevered. His faith was ultimately rewarded, and Joseph realized that God had used each painful experience to accomplish good in his life and the lives of others.  
He was Jacob’s favorite son, but hated by his jealous brothers who sold him into slavery. His  godliness certainly exceeded that of his brothers. No matter what happened to him, he was faithful and obedient not jealous or spiteful. God gave him a remarkable ability to interpret dreams. After years of unjust treatment, this ability took him from prison to political power in Egypt.  
This is a dramatic story of a truly good man who overcame a series of tragedies. Joseph accepted the role of a slave and then of a prisoner, served his masters faithfully, and retained his trust in God. God used each tragedy to place Joseph where Pharaoh would hear of his gifts, invited Joseph to interpret his dreams, and then gave Joseph great power and authority.  
Joseph even named his sons to indicate the goodness of God in his life. "Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. 'For' he said, 'God has made me forget all my hardship and al my father's house.' The name of the second he called Ephraim, 'For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'" (Genesis 41:51-52) Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for making to forget, and Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for making fruitful. 
Today, my family received some bad news and also experienced a frightful incident. We did nothing to warrant either, but that is not the point; life is not fair. However Joseph demonstrates that faith in God is never folly. The results of my faith may not be as dramatic as what happened to him, but this is a good reminder that no matter what comes our way, God promises to use all of it for good, that I might become more like Jesus. 
In fact, Romans 8:28-29 is just as true in my life as it was in the life of Joseph: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."  
We go to bed prayerful and shaking, knowing that life is not fair, but God is good!

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