When I was five years old, my sister was born. Even while she was in my mother’s womb, I guessed she would be a girl. Like some first-time-big sisters, her birth didn’t bring me happiness; instead it brought fierce competition for my mother’s attention. I hated sharing my mother and burned with jealousy that my sister could take her thoughts or affections away from me.
Joseph’s older brothers could certainly relate. He was the favored son of Jacob, born from his favored wife, Rachel. Jacob openly loved Joseph, giving him a multicolored tunic while the rest of his sons resented their relationship. The jealousy ate them up so much, they even plotted to kill him but instead sold them to the Ishmaelites.
Have you ever wondered if God has favorites? Jacob’s favoring of Joseph shows the damage it can do, but God isn’t like a human father. When God favors anyone it is because He chooses to and there are times when His favor can bring about suffering. For example, Jesus, God’s only begotten Son in whom He was well pleased, suffered for the sake of humanity so that our relationship with the Father could be restored.
There have been other times in my life, even as a Christian, when my heart has been filled with jealousy because a sister had gifts I didn’t have or seemed more sensitive to God’s Spirit than I was. God had to show me that I had been created by His hands, crafted into the person He wanted me to be. Instead of looking at what others had or what I didn’t have, He showed me that I needed to look to Him as my Father, accepted and redeemed.
God loves each and every one of us. His favor is not because we outdo one another nor does He give more importance to someone else. Instead, He calls us His children; His goodness and mercy follows us wherever we go.