I love the story of Joseph because it reminds me of the sovereignty of God. It illustrates so beautifully the contrast between human purpose and God’s purpose. Joseph was hated by his brothers so much that they made a plan to kill him in the wilderness. When the oldest brother opposed the murderous plan, they ended up selling Joseph as a slave. Then they lied to their father to make him think Joseph was killed by wild beasts.
Although Joseph’s brothers did horrible acts of betrayal, God’s purpose prevailed. Joseph ended up supervising the household of Potiphar, a high-ranking Egyptian. The favor of God was evident in Joseph’s life.
After an unfortunate run-in with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into jail, even though he was innocent. However, once again, God’s purpose was not thwarted and Joseph became a ruler in Egypt, second only to the king. When Joseph finally had the opportunity to reveal his identity to his brothers, he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
The evil intention of Joseph’s brothers was overruled by God’s provision. I am encouraged that no matter what awful circumstances come my way, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
Although I was not sold into slavery or thrown into jail, I have a personal tragedy of my own. My husband of 20 years had an affair and left me and our children. While he was gone, God taught me a lot about the faithfulness of God and the healing power of forgiveness. My journal entries during that time became the book He Will Never Leave You. I am happy to say God healed and restored my marriage, and it is stronger now than it has ever been. He has also given me a desire to help other betrayed spouses going through similar circumstances. This desire was the catalyst to the creation of my Facebook support group Christian Marital Infidelity Support and my email subscriber list for betrayed spouses. Like Joseph, rather than punish those who betrayed me, I forgave them and rendered good for evil. I took Romans 12:21 to heart: “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
As we continue reading the story of Joseph, it is interesting to note how Joseph treated his brothers who had left him for dead. He comforted them, and he spoke kindly to them. This is a demonstration of true forgiveness. Joseph didn’t hold their sin over their heads. Instead, he encouraged them to seek forgiveness from God. He did not seek revenge, knowing that God had already judged them. He assured them of his forgiveness.
Marital restoration after betrayal is difficult. One of the most common obstacles to the marriage renewal is the betrayed spouse’s inability to let go of the offense and to speak kindly to the unfaithful spouse. It is as if the injured person wants to see the unfaithful spouse pay for their wrongs and frequently reminds them of their sin. However, to facilitate complete healing in the relationship, I have learned that true forgiveness means I do not hold my husband’s sin over his head. I encourage him to seek forgiveness from God, knowing that God turns everything around for good. And God has completely healed my heart and given me the ability to love my husband deeply with no resentment or bitterness.
God brings good out of the worst tragedies. Not that God wanted my husband to have an affair and hurt me as he did, but God provided for all of my needs during the betrayal and during the restoration process. He also used this horrible trial to birth a ministry in me. It is my prayer that my book, my Facebook support group, and my email subscriber list be a source of support and encouragement to many others going through similar circumstances. To the betrayed spouse I offer this reminder: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Our lives will not be problem-free, but there is hope in knowing that regardless of the petty schemes of humanity, there is divine purpose, and God’s plan will not be thwarted.