And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A boy named Joseph (Genesis 37-50) lived many years ago and was a great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great uncle in the family of Jesus. He was family to Jesus and he is part of your family and mine by our faith in Jesus.

Did you know his dad gave him a special coat? By giving Joseph this coat, his dad was telling everyone Joseph was his favorite son. His brothers did not like to see him wearing it. Joseph had a dream that meant one day he would be more important than his brothers. They were so jealous, they thought about killing him. But they decided they could make some money if they sold him to men who took him away from his family and home. They didn’t want to get in trouble with their father for selling him. So, they told their father he had died. Joseph must have wondered what was happening to him. Where was he being taken? What would he do there? Was he going to die? He must have been scared, lonely, and hurt by what his brothers had done. But we know that the Lord was with Joseph. Joseph was taken to Egypt where he was a slave in an important household. He had a lot of chores he had to do. It was much more than help with the dishes or clean up his room. He worked very hard. He was never alone; the Lord was always with him.

Even though Joseph was a faithful servant, someone told lies about him and he was sent to prison. Remember that the Lord was always with Joseph? He worked hard in prison doing everything he was told and the man who was in charge of the prison trusted Joseph. If he told Joseph to do something, he knew Joseph would do a good job. One day, pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer got in trouble. They were sent to prison and Joseph was told to take care of them. This was important because the Lord gave them dreams when they slept at night. The Lord was always with Joseph and told him the meaning of the dreams. Two years later, the pharaoh had a confusing dream. He couldn’t find anyone would could tell him what the dream meant. His cupbearer remembered that Joseph knew the Lord and was wise. The Lord told Joseph what to say to pharaoh. Egypt would have seven years where a lot of food could be grown. There would be extra. But, after those seven good years, there would be seven bad years when food would be hard to grow. People would be hungry. Pharaoh was so impressed by the wisdom the Lord gave to Joseph that he put him in charge of getting ready for the time when there would be little food. Joseph worked really hard to make sure Egypt was ready. And the Lord was with Joseph. And, guess what? Everything happened just as the Lord had told Joseph. When the seven bad years arrived, people from all over came to Egypt for help because they didn’t have food for their families. Even Joseph’s brothers who had sold him into slavery so many years ago.

The Lord is greater than the men who did hurtful things to Joseph. After everything had happened, Joseph said to his brothers, what you did to hurt me, the Lord used for good (Genesis 50:18-21). Joseph could see that the Lord had saved his life and given him important work to do. He could see that the Lord had saved many people from going hungry including his brothers and their families.

What he didn’t know was that by feeding his brother Judah and his family, many years later Jesus would be born. That means that even you and I receive the goodness of the Lord to Joseph through Jesus. In fact, Jesus is like Joseph. He was sad, hurting, and lonely while he died on the cross. Like Joseph, his pain and death is not the end of the story. Jesus rose to life in victory so that we receive the bread of life through faith as He serves us in worship. We are made a part of his family through baptism. We listen as He speaks through His Word. We receive as He invites us to His table of grace and belonging called the Lord’s supper. This bread of life that Jesus gives us (that we can hear, see, and taste) becomes a part of us and tells us that He is always with us. Through it, He gives us strength when we feel sad, hurt, or lonely and assures us that in His goodness, he is making all things new again.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you allowed Jesus to be sad, hurt, and lonely so that I could be a part of your family and know, even when I am hurting, you are good. Amen.