“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a new pastor in our troubled church and the “religious” types were making it rough on me. They made it clear how young I was and how mature they were. It was Sunday morning and I had just survived my first annual business meeting-barely. I was getting the clear message that the congregation had voted me in to be their pastor and some wanted me to know that they could just as easily vote me out.
I had come to our little church in our little town with a clear call of God on my life to be here. As I approached the pulpit that morning, the Lord led me to this passage in Genesis 44. I said, “it was not you who sent me here, but God.” I could see troubled looks on some people’s faces. I boldly declared that my time was not finished until God said it was over. After eighteen years, I’m still standing. Through the years, certain people have tried to make my life difficult. Satan wants us to believe that our destiny is in the hands of people. Our destiny, however, is clearly in the hands of God.
I notice that Joseph waits until the plan of God becomes clear in his life before he says, “God sent me here.” He doesn’t say it when he is thrown into a well. He doesn’t say it when he is sold into slavery. He doesn’t say it when he is lied about and mistreated. He doesn’t say it when he is in the jail. He says it when he is second in command to Pharoah and he is assisting God’s people through the famine.
We don’t want to admit it, but when we are in one of life’s storms, it’s also true that God sent us there. If Joseph’s brothers don’t throw him into the bottom of the well, Joseph isn’t sold into slavery. If he isn’t sold into slavery, he doesn’t work for Potiphar. If he doesn’t work for Potiphar, he isn’t thrown in jail. If he isn’t in jail he doesn’t interpret the dreams of people who work for the Pharoah. If he doesn’t interpret the dream, he doesn’t get called before Pharoah to interpret his dream. If he doesn’t interpret the dream, he doesn’t get the job. If he doesn’t get the job, he’s not in a position to save his family. God sent him to all those places.
Joseph’s story teaches us that life is not a random series of events but it is a narrative. God is writing a story. Sometimes we go through storms of our own doing, but even those have the finger of God on them if we will let Him to guide us through them. Your last chapter is yet to be written. Your story isn’t over until God says its over. It remains to be seen whether your story is a comedy or a tragedy. If you will let God direct the storms of your life, he will turn your tragedy into a comedy.
One last note about Joseph. When I survived some of the early battles at the church, one of the dear elderly saints named Minnie Thompson sent me a card that said, “They said you couldn’t do it! They said you would fall on your face, but you made it! Now, call those people up at three in the morning, laugh your head off and say, “I told you so.” There are times when all of us would like to call our detractors and say, “I told you so.”, but Joseph allows his detractors to save face. Can you imagine how tempting it must have been to make his brothers sweat when he says, “Hello, my name is Joseph.” He could have had fun with that one. However, he doesn’t embarrass them by reminding them of what they did to him. He graciously attributes all of it to God. God may bring people back into your life who have wronged you. Learn from Joseph and don’t take advantage of the opportunity to get them back. Attribute all of your story to God and say, “God sent me here!”