15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Sunday morning I will begin a new message series from the Letter of James called Lifestyle Life. The letter of James is immensely personal and practical in regard to how we live out our faith. James is writing to early believers who are experiencing persecution and pain from being serious followers of Jesus Christ. In the first four verses of this little letter James shows us how to find purpose in the trial of life.
Joseph also understood the lesson of finding purpose in trials. After the death of his father, Jacob, Joseph's brother felt sure that now he would exact his revenge on them for selling him into slavery in Egypt, but Joseph saw life through a different filter than his brothers. He saw his life and trials as being used by God for His glory, (v. 20) "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . ." Can you see your trials and struggles in that light. Instead of thinking that God is out to get you, can you see your trials being used of God to better your life, to mature you into the image of Jesus Christ. Let's look for God's purpose in our trials.