If anyone had ample opportunity to become embittered by life’s trials, it was Joseph. His brothers treated him with contempt even before they tossed him into a pit. Then, he was sold into slavery, transported to a foreign land, framed for a crime, and left to waste away in prison—all within a relatively short period of time. Despite the many injustices he suffered, this boy who grew up in bondage became a man of diligent work ethic and gentle spirit.
It’s almost impossible to understand how Joseph could seem so forgiving, peaceful, and even joyful. His secret to maintaining grace under pressure was a constant focus on God. He must have spent many hours recalling Jacob’s stories about the Lord’s faithfulness to their family—and also the divine revelations about his own future as a leader (Genesis 37:8-9). In spite of his numerous afflictions, Joseph trusted that those God-given dreams would become reality.
Imagine what kind of man Joseph might have become after 13 years of suffering and injustice. Had Joseph dwelled on his unfair circumstances, he’d likely have become cynical and vengeful. With a mind full of escape plots and revenge tactics, he might have failed at being a good worker—so instead of achieving greatness, Joseph would probably have toiled at unfulfilling menial tasks.
With his spiritual eyes trained on God’s glory, Joseph persevered through great trials. In the end, he certainly had the power to punish his brothers for their treachery, but he chose to forgive. That decision probably wasn’t easy. Yet because Joseph placed himself under God’s protection, his heart was unhindered by negative emotions.