Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. (Genesis 37:2)
Almost nothing rivals a really bad fight between two people who have a lot of history together. They may even have a good history, but if something drives a wedge between them, things can get really ugly really fast.
Joseph is famous, even today, in part because of a musical about him and the beautiful and special coat that his father gave him. It made Joseph happy and proud to have the coat. It made his brothers even more envious and angry with him. In the verse above, you can see that this is not a neutral issue. Joseph is having dreams of being better than his brothers and lording over them in it. He is not shy about telling them this. He seems to enjoy rubbing it in. And the brothers, who already don’t like him, hate him even more.
Eventually, the brothers will plot to get rid of Joseph and convince their father that Joseph is dead and gone. Joseph will end up a captive in Egypt. A string of events too long for an article like this will unfold. When a famine forces the brothers to move south and into Egypt to find food, all memories of Joseph will be long gone. Yet in this sequence of events, Joseph will be in a position of power in Egypt and the brothers will (unknowingly) find themselves at his mercy. Although Joseph is not beyond having a little fun to get even with them in the process, eventually he will announce forgiveness and look to find ways that God was involved in all of this, even though almost all the things that happened seemed bad at the time.
This is a good lesson for all of us. We often watch for God at work and look most easily at good things and rejoice. But it is harder and takes more focus to look at the struggles of our lives and see God working there, even when the events were tough or even painful.
This week, take a little time to look back over your life and some of the biggest things that have transpired. Look especially at the places where you struggled or experienced pain. How do you see God sustaining you through that, working to bring life from that, or involved in some other ways? Remember, God is bigger than our successes. God is at work, even when things are rough.