�I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt.
But now 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.�
Today’s first reading recounts the story of Joseph in Egypt. It is amazing to me Joseph’s faith. Here he is confronting his older brothers who sold him into slavery and he offers them no reproaches but instead unasked for forgiveness. More, he offers them consolation and shows them God’s great plan: “It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.”
How often when disaster strikes do I seek to know God’s will in the midst of the crisis? Can I clearly see how God always works to bring good out of ill? Certainly it was a terrible thing for ten brothers to sell their youngest brother. They who should have been protecting him betrayed him. And then they lied to their father about it and let him think that Joseph was dead. And yet God used even that nefarious betrayal to show them his love and his saving power. Joseph becomes the instrument of God’s mercy, the one who saves his brothers and all his family from starvation.
Recently Young Mom had a post about discerning God’s will. Specifically about the ways people lie to themselves and convince themselves that the things they already want must be the will of God. But true humility is to look at the things that we don’t want and to see how the hand of God moves in our lives in the midst of suffering. How he works through disaster and famine and strife to always bring good, to bring us closer to Him if only we are willing to see it.
It’s not that God wills bad to happen to us. Certainly bad things don’t happen as a result of our sins or because we aren’t holy enough or don’t pray enough or in the right way. But God allows bad things to happen because they are the necessary result of a universe in which we have free will. But God will always bring good out of the evils men do if we only allow him to do so.
*The title is from today’s responsorial psalm.