Read: Genesis 41:45-57
I noticed a gold framed painting of flowers sitting by the wall as I walked into a friends house. It was beautiful. The black background contrasted with the bright flowers detailed in the center of the frame. When I complimented her on it, she told me that she painted it. She found an old painting in an alleyway, took it home, and painted this new image over it.
God did the same in the life of Joseph. He took his pain and trials and painted over it with a new picture. In Genesis 41, we read that Joseph had two sons. One he named Manasseh, which means “forgetfulness”, and the other he named Ephraim, which means “fruitfulness”. Interesting choices, right? Well, Joseph chose these names because God made Joseph forget his previous trials as he made him fruitful in Egypt. Throughout this week, we’ve seen Joseph hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold as a slave, framed for rape, and spend years in jail. Yet despite all of this, he was made the head of Potiphar’s household and his time there brought blessings to it, then he was made the prime minister of Egypt, and THEN by God’s divine provision was given the position to provide food for many nations during a severe famine, saving countless lives. He and his family even reconciled. God took circumstances that were beaten down by sin and weaved them into a story of victory and blessing. God took circumstances that were downtrodden by sin and weaved them into a story of blessing and victory.
God does this in our lives too! In their song “Vapor”, Gungor sings, “You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of dust / You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of us.” It’s true. God takes our sinful nature and replaces it with Jesus’ sinless nature when we trust in Him as Savior. He takes our struggles and gives us dependence on Him. He takes our shame over sin and replaces it with freedom. He takes our search for purpose and gives us a meaningful life. He is able to take terrible circumstances and turn them into something good. He takes our sinful habits and replaces it with a character more like Jesus’.
Even when a circumstance or struggle is not taken away during this life, we can trust God who is giving us a new story. He desires to take the dark, shameful, sinful parts of our story and to give us one of hope, freedom, and forgiveness.
A friend of mine practices a simple movement that reminds her that God is holding her life. She takes her hands and faces them towards the sky as if holding her circumstances in them. Then she flips them down and releases those circumstances to God, trusting Him to pick them up. Is there an area of life that you have not given over to God? I encourage you to visualize that area sitting in your hands and then turn it over to God so that He can paint over it with something new.