Crossroads: Look on the Bright Side

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Genesis 45:1-15

You Story

Talk about a time when something good came out of a hard situation. How did you respond?

My Story and the Bible Story

When I was in the 6th grade, there was a big argument at church. Everybody took sides and people weren’t very nice to each other. It got so bad that I didn’t have any friends and I came home from church crying every Sunday. It was a tough time in my life and I was very sad. We started going to another church, a church with warm, welcoming people who always greeted us with smiles. I made new friends in the youth group and it was there that I learned how important it is to spend time with God each day. Something good came out of a hard time in my life: I made new friends and I started taking time each day to spend with God.

In the Bible, Joseph was in a very tough situation. His brothers hated him and sold him to some traders (after they talked about killing him). He was sent to Egypt and became important in his master Potiphar’s house. But then Potiphar’s wife told lies about him, Joseph was thrown in jail and interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants. From there, Pharaoh eventually heard about what Joseph had done and sent for him. When God helped Joseph interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph became a trusted advisor of Pharaoh’s and an important man in charge of a lot in Egypt. But still, when his brothers came asking to buy food, Joseph was in a very hard situation. He could’ve easily been angry at his brothers. He could have refused to forgive them for what they did to him. Read Genesis 45:1-15 to see how Joseph reacts to his brothers.

From The Message: Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless-they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing. “Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt. Hurry back to my father. Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: I’m master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here. I’ll give you a place to live in Goshen where you’ll be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of. I’ll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I’ll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you—you won’t want for a thing.’ “Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it’s me, my own mouth, telling you all this. Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you’ve seen here, but don’t take all day—hurry up and get my father down here.” Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him.

Joseph could’ve stayed angry at his brothers, refusing to tell them who he was and not sharing any of the food in the Egyptian storehouses. He could’ve given them what they asked for, nothing more, and sent them on their way. But Joseph had forgiven his brothers. He could see the bright spot in everything. Because Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers, he was sent to Egypt. Because he was in jail in Egypt (after Potiphar’s wife lied), he was there when Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker had odd dreams about the future. Because God helped him interpret those dreams, eventually Joseph began to work for Pharaoh. And finally, because Joseph was working for Pharaoh, he was able to save plenty of food for the people, enough food to last through the famine when nothing grew. Eventually, all of that led Joseph to be in a position to save many people’s lives, including his brothers’. Joseph could see how God was working in the things that happened in his life. Joseph trusted that God had a plan and that God would be there for him.

Sometimes bad things happen to us. There are times when we find ourselves in hard situations where we are unhappy or even scared. But we can trust that God is always with us and that God can take anything that happens and make something good come out of it. Because Joseph’s brothers were mean to him and sold him into slavery, Joseph was sent to Egypt. From there, Joseph saved millions by making sure they had stored up enough food before the famine. Whatever happens in your life, God can take something bad and make something good come out of it. Be on the lookout for the bright side: it’s always there, even if you have to look really hard.

Discussion

• Talk about a time when something tough happened. Did anything good come out of that situation?
• Talk to your children about times when your family has gone through a hard situation and something good came out of it.
• How can we be on the lookout for God in hard situations?

Prayer

Thank God for always being there for us and for helping good things come out of hard situations. Ask God for help in seeing good things in hard times.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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