“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
I love the story of Joseph. If anyone would have the right to be bitter, it would be Joseph.
He was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers – slavery, mind you – by his brothers! Slave traders don’t care how you are treated. But what did he do? He proved himself resourceful and responsible. He had to learn another language and use his abilities for the benefit of others. Under his guidance, Potiphar’s household prospered. Then because he was a man of honor, when Potiphar’s wife seduced him, he ran from her. Now Joseph finds himself in prison being falsely accused of attempted rape. As a slave in prison, Joseph distinguishes himself to such a degree that he is put in charge of the prisoners. Finally, this man – son of Jacob, miles from his home, is given authority over all Egypt second only to Pharaoh.
You really have to think about this. Knowing what we know now, if you had been in the tent when Jacob told Joseph to go to the fields alone to deliver provisions to his brothers, would you have said, “NO! Stop!!! Don’t go!! This will end badly! You are going to be sold into slavery…you’re going to be in Egypt and you won’t see your father again for 20+ years…” Oh but wait a minute, “You will not save your people from famine.”
The climatic moment in the entire story of Joseph is when he reveals himself to his brothers and says:
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you...but God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
I would love to have been in that room on that day!
When adversity comes, dare we remember the 90% rule and know that we can become bitter or better. Dare we trust that we not only can “get through it”, but that God can bring good from it – in our life and in the life of others.