Fairy tales are so popular in our culture, in fact there are now TV series and movies that spin off the original fairy tales. I think one of the reasons fairy tales are so popular is because it is how the unexpected happens. Evil happens, but then good perseveres and not only wins but ends up in a better position in life. Cinderella went from cleaning the cinders out of the chimney to becoming a princess. Snow White found her prince and defeated the evil queen. So many of the fairy tales have a story of going from complete humility to a place of honor. In some ways, Joseph's story is like a fairy tale, except he didn't have a fairy god-mother intervening on his behalf; he had the King of all Kings placing him right where He wanted him. Please read Genesis 41:37-57 to see how God used Joseph.
Joseph went from being sold as a slave by his own brothers to working in the house of Potiphar, Pharaoh's captain of the guards. In Potiphar's home, Joseph became familiar with the belief system of the Egyptians and learned how Pharaoh's court ran. He was in charge of the entire household and learned management skills through that experience. He was falsely accused and went to jail where he found himself in the most humble position. He went to jail and was forgotten by all others outside but was still given responsibility over all the other prisoners. But this also put him in touch with the average Egyptian and allowed him to understand how the rest of the country lived and what they thought of Pharaoh. What seemed to be awful was probably preparing him for the position that he would find himself in for the rest of his life.
Joseph's wisdom that was given to him by God got Pharaoh's attention and suddenly Joseph found himself going from the most humble position in life to one of the most honored positions. He was in charge of the entire country of Egypt! Ancient Egypt was a thriving society with culture, writing, and trade. The Pharaoh trusted Joseph's judgement completely and allowed him to put the plan in place on how to handle the famine that God declared was coming. I doubt that Joseph understood that his dream would come true overnight after spending years in the prison. Who would think that a person would go from prison to second in charge of one of the most influential and powerful cultures of the time?
But, it is important to remember that even though he was exposed to Egyptian culture, Joseph still continued to rely on the God of his ancestors - the One and Only True God. He knew and believed that no matter what the Egyptian culture told him about their gods and goddesses (and there were a lot of them), God was still the only Creator and the One who was (and is) in control of all things. This faith is what helped him through the most difficult times and it is what brought him to the position he found himself in at 30 years old.
No matter what happens to us and what our culture tells us, we need to remember the truth that God is the only God and He is our Maker. He loves us and knows what is best for us and we are promised that He will be with us and work things out to His plan. Romans 8:28 (NLT) says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." This doesn't mean that everything in life will be good, but it does mean that no matter what we face and what bad happens, we can rest in the truth that God will prevail and He will work whatever the world throws at us for His purpose. His plans are greater than we can understand, but He will always be in control.
Do you believe that God can work the bad into good?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.