Life is just not fair. My kids are figuring this out. They are definitely quick to point out when things aren’t fair and not in their favor. And they are also realizing that even a relationship with Jesus doesn’t make life magically work for them in all things. These are hard life lessons – when the bully at the local pool gets to go down the slide first without any consequences even though he pushed everyone out of the way to get there, when they waited patiently for a treat at a party only to have the host run out by the time it was their turn, when they brushed their teeth every morning and night routinely and still got a cavity.
You and I know as parents that there will always be inequalities in this world, and more often than not, they are not fair. Living as a Christian doesn’t mean we are exempt from these occurrences, but our faith should affect how we handle injustice, both happening to us and those around us.
Joseph suffered from a really bad case of “life is not fair.” Sure, he may have had a little bit of a big head, but it wasn’t his fault his mom and dad loved him more than his brothers. It wasn’t his fault God spoke to him in dreams. Now, he could have been a little more humble and discreet in sharing those dreams, but I would be excited if God spoke in such a clear way to me, as well!
Joseph experienced the first case of injustice against him when his brothers sold him off to slave traders. He didn’t mope around in the position he was handed, but rather did the work given to him and did it well – well enough to be noticed and respected. He kept his head high and trusted the God who was watching over him. People could see something different about the way he conducted himself.
And in doing the right thing even though he had been wronged greatly by his brothers, Joseph was led into the second great injustice of his life. He was brought up to work for Potiphar and Potiphar’s wife took a liking to him. When he turned her down, he was accused of attacking her and thrown in prison again. I just can’t help but feel sad, angry, disappointed for Joseph. Wasn’t it enough that he already went through a bout of being treated unfairly? If I were him, I can’t imagine myself doing anything but sitting in the corner of that jail, feeling sorry for myself and feeling mad at my God.
But this story is not about me, thank you Lord. It is about a hero of the Bible who I want my boys to know well and walk in his footsteps. Joseph is a hero to me because didn’t respond and react how I would to injustice towards him. He responded with integrity. He responded with trust in God. He responded with faith. And his heroic response led to him being noticed once again and being lifted up to a position in which he could save all of Egypt from famine.
To me, the heroism Joseph demonstrated that I want my boys to learn from is not as much about the saving of all Egypt and eventually his long-lost family, but about the quiet way he kept on trusting and believing in God when life dealt him blow after unfair blow. I would have given up, but my boys can see in Joseph an unwavering faith and a determination to move forward in God’s will no matter what came at him.
In this world, life will always be unfair until Jesus comes again and takes us all away. To be heroes of the faith in the here and now, we need to take a lesson from Joseph and keep our eyes focused on him when the odds are not in our favor. That’s what a real hero would do.
Learn more about Joseph and 24 other heroes of the Old Testament in a brand new devotional and activity download pack – Old Testament Heroes!
Erin Mohring enjoys life in Nebraska with her husband of 11 years and their three boys, as well as reading, running, and movie nights with her guys. She writes at Home with the Boys and is the co-founder of The MOB Society, a site for moms of boys, by moms of boys.