Genesis 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45:1-5; Matthew 10:7-15
We often times hear of tragedies with innocent victims suffering, and crimes with people unjustly condemned and natural disasters leaving thousands dead and homeless. The usual reaction is to question why God allows these things to happen. And the acceptable explanation is that his ways are not our ways and he knows how to bring good out of these evils.
Well in our first reading today, we have a perfect example of how this explanation rings true. Joseph was an irritant to his brothers who ended up hating him, selling him into slavery and writing him off as dead. However, in the meantime, because of the talents God had given Joseph, along with hard work and the reputation he acquired, he was able to forewarn the Pharaoh of a future drought and the starvation that would face the Egyptians.
In return the Pharaoh rewarded him with ultimate power and put him in charge of preparing for the time of the drought. He planned the building of storage facilities during the times of plenty and laid away a portion of the harvest to cover the dry years. By conservation and judicious dispensation of the grain they had, he not only saved the lives of numerous Egyptians but even many of the people from surrounding countries. Among them was the family of Jacob, Joseph’s own brothers. They didn’t recognize him after so many years nor did Joseph initially make himself known to them. But after a couple of begging trips to Egypt for supplies and fulfilling conditions that Joseph demanded of them, he was no longer able to control his emotions or withhold his forgiveness.
“Come closer to me,” he told his brothers. “I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.”
Too often we fail to recognize the good that follows tragedies and trials. Sometimes that’s because those results happen at a much later time. Or again because the connection may be so subtle that it goes undetected. One message that comes through this scripture reading reminds us that God is in control. His ultimate plan is always directed with wisdom and love toward that end which in one way or another will eventually bring about our spiritual, temporal and eternal wellbeing.