This is one of the final scenes in Genesis before Joseph leads his people into Egypt. If you’re like me, you’ve read ahead in the story, and perhaps you’re thinking “No, don’t do it! Stay out of Egypt!” We know of the suffering that the Israelites will eventually face in Egypt. But you can’t change the past.
Joseph knows this well: he was sold into slavery at the hands of his siblings. His emotional outcry displays the anger, sadness and grief in his heart. We might expect someone in Joseph’s position to respond to his siblings with anger and bitterness. Joseph chose to look at his life another way: to look ahead and focus on God’s work in his life: “And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (verse 5)
God does not want people to suffer, yet amid suffering, God is in the business of turning evil into good. It is written all over Joseph’s story. It is written all over the story of Israel. It is the story of the cross of Jesus.
O God, when my suffering seems too much to bear, help me to move forward and focus on your good work in my community and in my life. Amen. — ANS