Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Genesis 37:2-11 (NRSV)
This is the story of the family of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
The portion of Joseph’s story we read in the above passage from Genesis reveals regrettable decisions on his part, decisions that led to tragedy as the story continued. However, in reading the balance of Genesis, we see that God’s will wins out and God’s purposes are achieved for the eventual good of everyone. Clearly, God uses imperfect people, like Joseph, to care for imperfect people like his brothers. Joseph was indiscreet and apparently vain, but God used for good even those characteristics that contributed to Joseph’s misfortune.
When adversity occurs in my life, even troubles for which I bear the blame, I have learned to trust God to use each instance to discipline me, and to prepare me to respond more obediently to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This discipline and preparation allows me to serve more faithfully.
If you are going through difficulties now, know that the entirety of your circumstances is in God’s hands, no matter who caused it. Trust God to love you through it all.
God of heaven and earth, from whom nothing is hidden and by whom even the number of the hairs on our heads is known, help us to rest in the knowledge that you care for us and are always with us. Amen.
Go with God.