Jacob lived a hard life and most of his difficulties were the consequences of his own bad decisions. He cheated his brother out of his inheritance, twice, and then ran from home to avoid getting murdered. His father-in-law took advantage of him for over two decades. He had 13 kids by four women and married two of them at the same time. If he wasn’t gray-headed by that point, the way his boys turned out likely finished the job.
When Joseph, Jacob’s favorite boy, told the family about his dream, how one day they’d all bow down to him, the brothers made an odd choice — murder? Reuben, the voice of moral reason, made the case against murder. Judah also came down against fratricide, they’d just sell him into slavery. After turning a quick profit, they made up a story about how wild beasts slaughtered Joseph. It broke Jacob’s heart. Joseph was gone.
Joseph lived a hard life and most of his difficulties were because of persecution. He was sold twice. Became the head servant of a powerful man in Egypt, then falsely accused of an impropriety by his wife. Because they believed all women in Egypt, Joseph went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In jail, he met up with a couple of other men who fell on hard times. Joseph interpreted their dreams and in return, he asked the incarcerated butler for help getting out jail when he was released. But he forgot, until Pharaoh had a dream and needed interpretation. Pharaoh liked Joseph’s skills, and he became Pharaoh’s right hand man and shepherded Egypt through 7 years of feast, to prepare them for 7 years of famine, predicted in Pharaoh’s dream.
In the famine, Jacob and the boys got hungry and they heard there was corn in Egypt, so he sent the boys to get some groceries. Little did they know it was Joseph they had to buy from. Joseph orchestrated a few scenarios in which he sent the brothers back home, first without Simeon and then wanted to keep Benjamin. When the brothers told Jacob what happened, he said in Genesis 42:36, “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” It only seemed that way. Because he was loved of God, all things were not against him, but all things were for him (Romans 8:28). All these troubles worked together for his good, though he couldn’t see and didn’t see it for a long time. But Joseph saw it. When the brothers feared retribution, Joseph said “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” There is no pointless suffering for the people of God. Look at life, through eyes of faith, like Joseph. If you are in Christ, nothing is ever really “against you” but all things are for you.