When Blessings Don’t Act Like Blessings
July 20, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf." And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me." So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?" - Genesis 37:5-10.
While walking to my car this morning in a store’s parking lot God reminded me of an important truth. In the parking lot I observed a mother with three children trying to calm down a six- or seven-year-old girl who wasn’t getting her way. The girl was crying and screaming at the top of her voice. Later my wife shared she had viewed a young mother with several children that were out of control. The mother would tell the children to stay still in one spot and it was as if they had not heard anything at all. Even though the mother said it several times the children were still running wild! Sometimes blessings don’t act like blessings.
Without any doubt, Joseph was a tremendous blessing, which came straight from the hand of God. However, Joseph appeared to be a spoiled young man with delusions of grandeur. His father was shocked, and his brothers were angered by this dream that Joseph supposedly had. What hope could there be for a child like this? How could such a child be a blessing? Israel did have a small glimmer of the truth as the Bible records, “And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind (Genesis 37:11).”
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and ended up in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. In Joseph’s life, we also see some blessings that did not appear to be blessings: How could being thrown into a pit be a blessing? How could being sold into slavery be a blessing? How could being falsely accused of rape be a blessing? How could being imprisoned unjustly be a blessing? How could correctly predicting the death of a man be a blessing?
At the very end of the Book of Genesis, we see why these things, which do not appear to be blessings, were indeed wonderful blessings from God. Joseph in Genesis 50:20 says to his brothers who fear him after the death of their father, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
Even disobedient, prideful, spoiled children are blessings from God. Of course, we are responsible before God to properly discipline them and train them in the admonition of the Lord. Through seeking the Lord’s strength and wisdom for the proper discipline and training of our children we will find that, God is also training and blessing us (Ephesians 6:4; 7-8).
Even some of the most terrible things that can happen to a person in life may actually be blessings as the life of Joseph gives testimony. The next time some bad thing happens to you, don’t be so quick to assume that it is a bad thing. It could actually be a tremendous blessing from God because, “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”