“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it.” (Chuck Swindoll). This quote has always been one of my favorites. The life of Joseph illustrates this quote perfectly.
As we read about the life of Joseph, the mistreatment does not seem to stop. Brothers throw him in a pit. Sold as a slave. False accusations. Prison in a pit. Forgotten for 2 years. Seems like enough mistreatment to make Joseph want to give up on life, his family, and even God. BUT, he never does. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite takes place.
If we took Joseph’s life and observed how he responded when the going got tough, we could see why he rose to positions of influence in Potiphar’s house and in the land of Egypt under Pharaoh.
- Joseph fled from sin “…He fled and got out of the house.” (Genesis 39:12).
- Joseph noticed the needs and hurts of others. “Why are your faces downcast today?” (Genesis 40:7).
- Joseph gave God the glory “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” (Genesis 41:16).
- Joseph had a proper perspective “God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5).
- Joseph practiced forgiveness “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5).
- Joseph didn’t complain or grumble
- Joseph was a willing servant in the hands of His God “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20).
Life is not always a challenge, but many days it is. Many days we see all of the challenges in our day and choose not to see life through the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Joseph did not deserve to get thrown into the pit, and yet his brothers took out their jealousy for Joseph on Joseph. How many times do we have a pity party for ourselves because of the circumstances we did not deserve and yet we are left to deal with them? If we look at Joseph’s life, we see he forgave his brothers. He didn’t allow the bitterness of the past to eat up his future.
False accusation and prison. While in prison, he did not have another pity party for himself. Rather he noticed the needs of those around him and sought to meet those needs. How often do we set aside our own pain and notice the pain of others? Many times the best healing for ourselves is by helping others to heal. Do we notice others needs or only focus on our own pain?
What side of the tapestry are we visualizing? Joseph did not know how, but he did know God had a plan. Even though Joseph could not see the entire tapestry of his life as God did, he trusted God’s vision for his life never doubting His plan. He walked faithfully with God through every bend in the road.
Joseph was always ready to be a servant, and God lifted him to positions of leadership. In Potiphar’s house, he was a servant. In the prison, he was a servant. In Pharaoh’s kingdom, he was a servant.
As we consider the injustices of life, do we pity ourselves and focus on the 10% that happens to us or do we focus on having a godly 90% response.
I have seen this from both sides. You probably have too.
Which person would you rather be around? We all know the answer. We would rather spend time with the Joseph’s of the world rather than the Jonah’s. So if that is the case, who are you going to be?