From Worst to Best

So they sent Joseph a message, “Before his death, your father gave this command: Tell Joseph, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sin—all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly.’ Will you do it? Will you forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God?” When Joseph received their message, he wept.Then the brothers went in person to him, threw themselves on the ground before him and said, “We’ll be your slaves.” Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart. (Genesis 50:16-21 MSG)"

"You may not understand today or tomorrow, but eventually God will REVEAL why you went through everything you did."

Joseph's life went from bad to worse. He's hated by his brothers because of his dreams. They wanted to kill him but instead sold him. His "luck" begins to change but after a short period of time he is falsely accused and imprisoned in Egypt. Things didn't seem to be looking up for Joseph. Or, were they? I'm beginning to see that we often go through tough times to get to the better times that God has for us. Often the worst of times seem to create the best of times, or at least "a best" of times. If Joseph was a modern day figure he might say something like, "I'm in hell right now." We have a tendency to buy into whatever we are swept into. In that case the worst of times remain the worst of times. The worst of times can become the best of times when we trust the process. Joseph never let go of his dream. Years had passed but what God had placed in him was unshakable.

May I then say, "Thank God for the worst of times?" Not exactly but if It my worst produces His best then I can at least thank Him for getting me through my hell. My question, concerning Joseph's crisis, is did he really have to go through all the crazy turmoil to become second in command of all of Egypt? Was his character so weak that God thought to Himself, "Did I give the wrong guy the right dream?" Surely there had to be someone with better character than Joseph that didn't require so much soul work that would prepare him to be Pharaoh's right hand guy. It sure would have sped things up. Oh well, I guess God is never in a hurry and never experiences worry. He's quite different than us. I want to be sure that I don't miss out on the life and lessons of this "Hebrew Hero". Here are some lessons that I have learned from Joseph's story that might have helped him through his difficult time.  

Stage One Lessons: Don't dress eccentric (Coat of many colors…seriously? Who wouldn't be angry with their sissy little brother?)

Don't talk to the wrong people about your dreams.

Don't go looking for those who hate you, at least make them come to you.

Stage Two Lessons: Make the best of the worst.

Work hard in hard times. 

When wrongly mistreated remember you will be rightly justified.

Stage Three Lessons: While in prison (times of extreme difficulty) make friends with the right people. 

Help others with their dreams until your dream is released.  

Be patient and prepared.

Stage Four Lessons: When the worst releases you to the best be humble.

When your (stupid) brothers show up be forgiving.

Overcome evil with good.

Remember these words: The happiest people don't have everything; they just make the best of everything.

I guess that you could say that Joseph went from "worst to second" which was God's best according to Joseph's dream. I know what you’re thinking, that doesn't rhyme and who wants to be second? I do! And in baseball terms "second" means that we have at least advanced. God must always be first. It's only when He's first that we are at our best. Joseph never sought to be first, he simply put God and God's dream first. Instead of trying to escape the worst in our lives maybe we should start looking for the best possible outcome to our really stinky situation. 

Maybe the greatest example of going from a "worst" to a "best" situation is found in Christ. Every year we celebrate the Friday before Easter and we call it "Good Friday". Good Friday wasn't so good for the One being nailed to the cross, at least at the moment. As many, if not most, know it turned out for our best, and His. 

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8: 26-28 MSG)

Pregnant? That's right! We are pregnant in our spirit with the dreams of God and the will of God. Don't "miscarry" or "abort" the dream during the worst of times or you will never give birth to the best of times. I'm sure that Joseph was glad that he didn't give up in the pit and the prison as he stood in the palace second in command of all of Egypt. 

No matter how you feel....

Get up.

Dress up.

Show up.

And, never give up.

Today could be "the day" you go from worst to best.