During the time Joseph was struggling to reconcile with his brothers, he was also navigating a catastrophe. It’d been two years since the last drop of rain. The sky was endlessly blue. The sun was relentlessly hot. Animal carcasses littered the ground, and no hope appeared on the horizon.
The land was a dust bowl. No rain meant no farming. No farming meant no food. When people appealed to Pharaoh for help, he said, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do” (Genesis 41:55 NKJV).
Joseph faced a calamity on a global scale. Yet contrast the description of the problem with the outcome. Years passed, and the people told Joseph, “You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants” (Genesis 47:25 NKJV).
The people remained calm. A society that was ripe for bedlam actually thanked the government rather than attacked it. Makes a person wonder if Joseph ever taught a course in crisis management. If he did, he included the words he told his brothers: “God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years, the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you” (45:5–7).
Joseph began and ended his crisis assessment with references to God. He assumed God was in the crisis. Then he faced the crisis with a plan. He collected grain during the good years and redistributed it in the bad. When the people ran out of food, he gave it to them in exchange for money, livestock, and property. After he stabilized the economy, he gave the people a lesson on money management.
Joseph never raised the dead, but he kept people from dying. He never healed the sick, but he kept sickness from spreading. He made a plan and stuck with it. And because he did, the nation survived. He triumphed with a calm, methodical plan.
– From God Will Carry You Through, by Max Lucado