I have led a charmed life.
Really, I have. Or perhaps, blessed would be a better word. I’ve often wondered what I’ve done to deserve so many good things, heaped on top of each other. I have great parents. I have pleasant memories of my childhood. I had fun in college and got to be class favorite and homecoming queen and all that other hoopla. I married the man of my dreams. And two of the coolest kids on the planet call me mom.
Now, I’m not telling you this because I think I deserved any of it. I didn’t. I have no idea why God has chosen to show me His favor in so many ways. I’m grateful. But I’m not special.
Sometimes, I’ve felt a little like Joseph, in the old Bible story. You remember him, don’t you? He was the youngest of many sons. (For a while, anyway. He did eventually have a younger brother.) Though Jacob had many fine, strong, handsome sons, Joseph was the favorite.
This special status didn’t really have anything to do with Joseph. Nope, he didn’t do anything to earn or deserve such a favored place in his father’s heart. Instead, it had everything to do with who his mother was.
You see, in those days, men got to have more than one wife. (Now don’t be jealous, fellas. I’m sure that was more of a curse than a blessing on most days.) Rachel was Joseph’s mother, and the love of his father’s life. And she had a really hard time having children. So when she finally delivered Joseph, Jacob rejoiced.
And he blessed Joseph with special favors, every chance he got. One of those special gifts was a beautiful, royal-looking robe, spun of fine fabric and with many brilliant colors. Usually, such finery was reserved for very important people. So you can see why Joseph’s brothers weren’t too thrilled that their baby brother got to stay home and wear fancy clothes while they worked in the fields. They grew to resent Joseph.
To make a long story short, one day, they took his robe, threw him in a pit, and sold him as a slave to the first person who came along. In a moment, Joseph went from favored to cursed.
Well, that’s what I used to think. But I’ve recently been reminded of the fact that Joseph was still the favorite. Even in the pit.
Which puts a whole new spin on things in my life, because I’ve found myself in pits of my own from time to time.
You see, Joseph’s father loved him with all his heart when things were good. And His father didn’t stop loving him when he disappeared. For thirteen years, Joseph lived in slavery. He was thrown in jail, set up for a crime he didn’t commit. He didn’t see or hear from his family. Life wasn’t so great, anymore.
But he was still the favorite. He was still loved.
Friends, God loves you even more than Joseph’s father loved him. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you deserve that kind of love. It has everything to do with who your Father is. You belong to Him. You are special to Him. And He loves you every bit as much when you’re going through the pits of life as He does when you’re walking around with a robe of blessings. His love never changes, even when our circumstances do.
So what are we gonna do? Sink down, hang our heads, and feel sorry for ourselves? That’s not what Joseph did. Joseph made the most of his “pit”-iful situation. He chose to trust that God knew what He was doing. He held his head high, worked hard, and lived with integrity. He eventually rose right up out of that pit and into a station of honor and authority. Because he proved himself in the pit, God placed him in a position to help his family when they were in danger of starving. In other words, the pits made him stronger, and put him in a much better place than he’d have been if things had always been easy. And through it all, though Joseph’s earthly father was far away, God never left him.
Friends, are you in a pit? Hang in there. The same God who loved you when life was good still loves you with all his heart. The same God who walked with you through green pastures is still there, right in the middle of your darkness. And when we trust God, hold our heads high, work hard, and live in a way that honors Him, He’ll bring us through those pits. Only when we emerge, we’ll be stronger, and the blessings will be greater than we can imagine.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives,” Genesis 50:20.