Written By: Nicole Hammond
Have you ever watched a movie and found yourself yelling at the screen, “Don’t open the door!” or “Grab the gun!” or “Run the other way!”? You’re looking from a different angle, so you’re able to shout that, but the character doesn’t understand the inevitable tragedy that’s about to happen because they’re usually left in the dark. More often than not, the lead character is rescued and there’s a good ending.
In the book of Genesis, Joseph’s story is filled with tragedy. He came from a very dysfunctional home—11 brothers, 1 sister, his father, and 4 wives. His mother died when he was young. He was hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, left for dead, and then sold into slavery to an Egyptian officer. Then he was falsely accused of rape by his master’s wife and thrown into prison. But in each circumstance, the Bible says, “But God was with him and blessed him.”
Eventually, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and became the second most powerful man in all of Egypt. You know the story; he ultimately came face to face with his brothers—his abusers— and instead of repaying evil for evil, he offered mercy and forgiveness. He told them “Don’t be afraid, God sent me here to preserve your lives so a great nation would come from you. God turned into good what you meant for evil.”
God didn’t make the brothers hate, abuse, or sell him into slavery. God didn’t make Potiphar’s wife falsely accuse him or her husband throw him into prison. But God did take all the messy parts of Joseph’s life and make something beautiful out of it.
I find so much comfort in this story—the least likely place that Joseph would have expected the God of Israel to be was in Egypt, and in the pit of the prison. Yet God was there! And He blessed Joseph there! Egypt and the prison pit represent a place of oppression, bondage, pain, and tragedy.
Psalms 41:11, “You have not let my enemies triumph over me.” Jesus, our Redeemer, is full of grace, and will redeem every disgrace.
Our son, Ryan, recently released an album and one of the songs is called “Only Jesus.” It says, “Who commands the wind and waves? Who can speak in galaxies and wonders? Who can calm the storm in me? Who can spin a tragedy into triumph? Who’s the God above all things? Who’s the God of suddenly and faithful? Who’s the One that died for me? Who has bore the gravity of all my sin? His love invites me in. Jesus, only Jesus. He is Jesus, precious Jesus. Majesty have Your way in me; You are all I need and the song I sing.”
Providence is the unseen hand of God in the events of your life. Each circumstance comes for a purpose and is bound by God’s grace, love, and plan. God takes every piece of your broken story and your broken life and He makes something beautiful out of it.
I had some major dysfunction in my life growing up. My dad left my older sister and my mom, while she was pregnant with my twin and me. Eventually, she remarried and shortly after that, I began to suffer abuse at the hands of my stepfather. It lasted for 8 years. I used to ask, “Why me, God?” as I was in the darkness of my tragic story. God didn’t make my dad leave nor my stepdad abuse me, but He did make something beautiful out of my story.
Two years after I married my husband Mark, we attended an “Encounter with God” event, and I was able to forgive my deceased stepdad for the abuse and my father for abandoning me. The freedom that came over me was like nothing I had ever experienced. One year later, I led my father to the Lord and was used as a tool to unlock freedom in his life. Not too much later, my husband and I learned about some tragic circumstances that a young lady in our youth ministry was facing. After praying together, we brought her into our home and family and raised her as our daughter. I immediately understood WHY I had suffered such abuse. While God didn’t cause the tragic events, His grace redeemed my disgrace, and He used me as a tool to help heal our daughter. I would go through it all again, knowing what I know now.
Perhaps you are in Egypt, or in a PIT—pretty intense trial, or you’ve experienced great pain in tragedy. I hope that you will trust that God is with you and He will bless you. He is working behind the scenes, making something beautiful out of the broken pieces of your life.
If He could take Joseph from son to slave, from the pit to the palace, He can turn your tragedy into triumph as well. The tragedy doesn’t get the last word, God does—it’s HIStory. Whether He redeems your mess on earth or in Heaven, He will do it. Romans 8:28 “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.”