Written by A.A. Adourian
Wouldn’t it be great to be like Joseph? He is betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, then thrown into prison for years because of the lies of Potiphar’s wife. If that’s all we see in Joseph’s story, our answer would surely be “No!” But the full story is that no matter what Joseph does, he succeeds because, the Bible tells us in Genesis 39:21, “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
Indeed, when we first encounter Joseph in Genesis 37, we can see that God’s favour is with Joseph. God blesses as He chooses. It seems unfair until we understand that God has a purpose behind the blessing. We remember His words in Jeremiah 29:11, that He has plans for us—to give us hope and a future—both individually and collectively.
In this we can take heart: No matter who we are or where we are, God finds us. We can see that God never leaves Joseph. And like Joseph, we have a responsibility to walk in faith. Giving up is simply not an option—especially when we believe God has blessed us. What does it mean to be blessed?
One way to consider blessing is by acknowledging that God has provided all we need (and trusting that if what we want is really what we need, God will provide that too). The other element involves acknowledging that we need to help others receive God’s blessing (that is, what they really need). We are only able to acknowledge and know God when we walk with Him and trust Him.
Joseph’s actions illustrate this for us beginning in Genesis 42. When the famine causes Joseph’s brothers to go to Egypt for food, Joseph recognizes them as his brothers. He could have turned them away in revenge, but Joseph provides for their physical needs. However, he knows—and perhaps his weeping is evidence of this—that the truth has to come out. These are his brothers! He needs to tell them who he is, and he needs to know about his father.
Joseph needs healing.
When Joseph sees his brothers in Genesis 43, he is overcome with compassion (verse 30). He weeps several times upon seeing them. He weeps upon seeing his father (Genesis 46:29). And when his father dies, he weeps again (Genesis 50:1). And again when his brothers ask for forgiveness after their father dies (Genesis 50:17).
Joseph weeps when they ask for forgiveness? Is that what we do when someone asks us for forgiveness?
Joseph’s reply “comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:21b). He says:
“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and for your little ones.” (Genesis 50: 19-21a).
We can choose to have Joseph moments too when we forgive others—in a way that comforts them and speaks kindness, realizing that our ultimate example of compassion is Jesus himself. A Joseph moment does not ignore reality; it faces reality by acknowledging the truth of our hurt and disappointment but choosing to walk in faith and trust God.
From Joseph’s example we see that spiritual breakthrough happens when we acknowledge God all the time—even when it may seem that He has forgotten us, and when the world encourages, even supports, us to take revenge instead of exercise forgiveness.
Because Joseph walked in faith even when he was waiting in a cold jail cell, his actions result in success, victory, and healing not just for him but for all those around him. And isn’t that what God does by leading us to our Joseph moments?