And he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. (Ps. 105:17)

THE STORY OF JOSEPH is frequently told in Sunday school classrooms.

Joseph had eleven brothers, but he was his father’s favorite. His dad gave him a coat of many colors. Joseph’s brothers were jealous. They hated Joseph. Their hatred grew stronger when Joseph told them about his dreams in which first sheaves of wheat and then stars bowed down to him. Naturally, his brothers felt Joseph was hinting (and not too subtly) that they would bow down to him.

When the opportunity presented itself, they sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt. It was an awful thing to do, but God used it to save the lives of Joseph’s family during a famine.

Of course there’s a lot more to the story. There were years when Joseph could have despaired and turned his back on God. He would no doubt have scoffed if anyone told him that one day God would work good through his suffering. Prison quite literally stank, but Joseph found favor with the warden and later with Pharaoh.

I suspect, however, that Joseph found the greatest favor with God when he chose to see God in all that had happened and to forgive his brothers.

Reflect on your life and how God has worked good from something that seemed bad.

Marlene Bagnull celebrated fifty-one years of marriage. She and Paul have three grown children and three grandchildren. She directs two Christian writers’ conferences.