Today's reading is the story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, recipient of a special and glorious robe, dreamer of dreams, prognosticator of prognosticators, sold as a slave by his brothers to the hairy Ishmaelites, presumed dead by Jacob. Joseph who ended up making a good life for himself while helping many, and eventually helping and forgiving his brothers. When Jacob died and the brothers were scared that Joseph hadn't forgiven them....
Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart. Genesis 50:19-21A lot of bad stuff happened to Joseph. A lot, a lot. His brothers sold him into slavery. Potiphar's wife got him in trouble and he landed in jail. But it was this series of unfortunate events, combined with Joseph's faith in God and his spiritual gifts of prophecy and discernment, that led to him helping Pharoah save food and make it through what could have been a huge famine for his people. God used the bad for good.
People often ask me how it is that I'm not angry with God for "cursing" me with such illness and pain. Or for not rescuing me from the abuse in my past. My response is this: God now uses, and always has used, the bad for good in my life. People (not God) have done horrible things to me. God has put other people in my life who helped me through, and has walked with me through it all, even if I might not have realized it at the time. My body (not God) has gone awry, and through prayer, faith, and not a little medication, I find the best in my days and live my life to the fullest, whatever that means in any given moment.
God has turned my suffering into the ability to help others, into compassion, into laughter, into the gift of seeing Joy in the little things and appreciating every step, sight, and sound.
Through it all, God has been there, saying "Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I'll take care of you..."
(Bonus points if you can figure out how many movies and/or musicals I quoted in this post.)