One of the first Bible stories I learned was that of Joseph and his coat of many colors. (Today’s portion of the psalm provides an excellent summary of the whole thing.) It was the summer of 1990 and I was at Camp Hammer, a Christian camp in the Santa Cruz mountains, with my friend Emily. Knowing that I did not come from a Christian household, Emily invited me to come to camp with her church for a week and this was the story that we studied with our counselors every morning in between swimming, doing arts and crafts, and playing camp-wide games.
The redeeming message of Joseph’s story is that God works in the worst of circumstances for good. Today’s passage from Genesis has Joseph beaten and sold into slavery by his jealous brothers; but later, Joseph ends up advising Pharaoh on how to handle an impending famine in Egypt. The brothers who sold him into slavery are forgiven and he ends up keeping them and his father Jacob alive as the famine rages in Israel, preserving the line of Abraham from which Jesus comes.
I gave my life to Jesus for the first time that summer and eventually committed fully almost five years later during my freshman year of high school. More than twenty-five years after hearing that story for the first time, God has worked amazing things in my life, bringing me through adversity, a dangerous pregnancy, and into a community and church that loves me and loves my son Daniel. God goes truly work good in some hard circumstances!
God, thank you for working in even the worst moments in our lives and bringing us into better places. Amen.