The story of Joseph is a familiar one to me, as a cradle Catholic. It’s a long narrative about a beloved son with jealous brothers.Then Joseph goes through a cycle of rising up to power, losing it, and then regaining that power again. In spite of being sold into slavery and being put in prison, Joseph remained faithful to God and eventually became the Egyptian equivalent of a prime minister.
You think that the story would end there, but of course, there’s one loose end to tie up. Joseph’s brothers find their way to Egypt during the famine in the hopes of getting food for their families. Joseph puts his brothers to the test to see if they are sorry for selling him into slavery. It seems a bit callous and vengeful at first, but the brothers’ sorrow over their actions is clear. Vengeance turns into forgiveness, and eventually Jacob’s family is reunited again.
There’s a video from Father Mike Schmitz of Ascension Presents that asks “Why does God let bad things happen?” In this video, he explains that God has a perfect, divine will and a permissive will. For whatever reason that we don’t know yet, God allows us to have the freedom to make choices. Like a parent, He keeps an eye on us, but will not force us to do anything we do not want to do. And even when bad things happen, He has the power to bring a greater good out of it. God does not will evil to happen. Evil will never win in the long run.
Joseph could’ve given up at any point in his journey. He could’ve given up when he was sold into slavery. He could’ve given up when he was falsely accused of assaulting Potiphar’s wife. He could’ve given up when his time in prison seemed to last for an eternity. And yet, with each setback, God was still with Joseph and helped him make the most of those bad situations. On top of all that, God found a way to bring Joseph and his brothers together again. A story that began in jealousy, ends with forgiveness.
The story of Joseph teaches us that if we stay faithful to God, He can bring us out of the most tumultuous storms and bring good things out of the worst situations.
Reflect: Did you ever have a time in your life when you felt like giving up on God? How did you get through that?
Reflect on a time that God brought something good from a seemingly hopeless situation.
Act: Send some kind of greeting to a family member or a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time. If you had an argument with them, try to make amends. At the very least, pray for them.