If anyone had ‘short-end of the stick’ moments, it was Joseph. His life didn’t start out so bad. He was the favorite of Jacob’s 12 sons. Yes, Jacob the head of God’s chosen people; the people God chose to gain full inheritance of His blessings. Jacob loved Joseph so much that he made him a special colorful coat. This made his brothers jealous. When Joseph told the family of a dream he had which implied that they would all bow down to him someday, it angered the brothers.
One day Joseph faithfully did what his father asked and headed to the fields to see what his brothers were doing. As he approached they plotted against him. Joseph’s brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him to foreigners who carted him off to Egypt to be a slave; a fate he did not deserve.
As a slave, Joseph faithfully took care of every aspect of life for the captain of the guard. But the captain’s wife was not faithful and when she saw Joseph was handsomely well-built, she pursued him incessantly. Joseph remained loyal to his master. She was infuriated and screamed false accusations. The master promptly tossed Joseph into prison; a fate he did not deserve.
In prison Joseph met the baker and master cupbearer to the Pharaoh. When they were disturbed by their dreams, Joseph interpreted them. In return, he only asked that he be remembered. But when, just as predicted, the cupbearer was placed back in Pharaoh’s service, he forgot Joseph. Joseph continued to pay for the crime he did not commit; a fate he did not deserve.
What are your ‘short-end’ experiences? Your only childhood memories are of abuse and neglect; after 30 years your spouse left you; you’re permanently maimed because of a drunk driver; a health diagnosis with no known cure; trapped in a dead-end job; your cousin inherited a million bucks but you’ve worked for every penny; living with constant severe pain; a loved one was taken away too soon; irresponsible 15 year-olds can get pregnant, but after many years, you still can’t?
The list includes some of my own ‘short-ends.’ When I feel that life is just not fair! That is when I need to go to God’s Word.
Two years passed since Joseph was forgotten. The Pharaoh began to have distressing dreams. Joseph was brought before him to interpret those dreams. Joseph predicted enormous grain abundance for some years. After that a greater famine would occur. Pharaoh put Joseph in command of the entire kingdom to handle this situation. Joseph was a faithful servant, collecting grain for years. When the famine hit, people from all countries had to get food from Joseph. Even Jacob had to send his sons to Egypt.
As the story goes, the brothers bow down to Joseph and ask for mercy for what they did to him. Joseph, in his love for his family, forgives them for everything. He tells them that they did NOT send him there. He acknowledges that God sent him to Egypt for this great deliverance from the famine. His entire family moves near Egypt, thus God’s people were protected from eradication.
In all of Joseph’s ‘short-end’ experiences, God was there; providing his gift of interpreting dreams; blessing Joseph and those around him and putting Joseph in leadership positions for His own purpose. God was always with him.
While writing this, I was called away to work; one of my own ‘short-ends’ in life. The company that I have worked at for over 20 years is short staffed. I go when I get called to work.
“It’s not fair,” I whine as I melt down from the stress of working so many hours.
“Why me? Why do I have to work so much? I would so much rather read and write about Your Word?”
As I try to compose myself, with prayer and forced thanks to God, I wonder. Did Joseph cry in the cistern, kick and scream when being carted off to Egypt, sulk and whine serving the captain?
Did Joseph ask God, “Why me?”
The Bible doesn’t record any such moments.
The following day, I return to my writing. After awhile, I pause and look at the clock. It’s been hours and I was NOT called to work! I was able to finish. Thank You God!
Whether at work or writing, God is with me and has a purpose for my life. For that I am truly thankful to Him!
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