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The Big Picture

But now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers were frightened.

"Now Joseph will pay us back for all the evil we did to him," they said. So they sent him this message: "Before he died, your father instructed us to tell you to forgive us for the great evil we did to you. We servants of the God of your father beg you to forgive us." When Joseph read the message, he broke down and cried.

Then his brothers came and fell down before him and said, "We are your slaves."

But Joseph told them, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil, for he brought me to this high position I have today so that I could save the lives of many people. No, don't be afraid. Indeed, I myself will take care of you and your families." And he spoke very kindly to them, reassuring them. Genesis 50: 15-21 (TLB)

John D. Bown is from Minnesota. His mother remarried when John was 14, and they moved to live near where his stepfather worked. It was only 50 miles away, but it felt like hundreds of miles because John was leaving friends he had known all his life. Then about a year and a half later, his stepfather was transferred to a town 200 miles away. John was angry that he had to leave his friends again.

As a teenager, John couldn't see anything good about these moves. But God works in mysterious ways. The moves forced John to be less introverted, and he became more comfortable meeting new people. John learned how to adapt to new environments and cope with changing circumstances.

Now John can see that possessing those skills has been a great benefit to him throughout his life. God has the full picture of our lives even if we may not understand in the moment. Joseph's story from Genesis is a wonderful example of this. Even though his brothers meant to punish and harm Joseph, his experience in Egypt became a great blessing to many, including his own family. God sees the big picture; our role is to trust God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know the plans you have for us. Help us to trust in you even when we can't see the big picture, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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