It Could Never Happen to Me

by | Mar 7, 2022


Highlights for Genesis 37-41

Joseph of Egypt has a profound story. Reflecting on Joseph’s life and example has brought me great strength through the years. There are very few of us who could endure Joseph’s setbacks and hardships with grace and faith.

In Awe of Joseph

Let’s look at Joseph’s timeline.

First, his brothers hate him and plot to murder him (not to mention all the snideness he’s already experienced). Have you ever been on the receiving end of such extreme hatred? I have, and it is the most unnerving, awful set of emotions! After throwing him down into a deep pit for several days, his brothers decide to sell him as an enslaved person to a foreign culture.

Some of us are acquainted with our immediate families’ lack of love and regard. Nephi experienced it as well. Do not ever feel less esteemed by heaven because of such circumstances. Some of the best who have ever lived endured similar difficult beginnings.

Not only did Joseph suffer cruel jealousy from his brothers – he went from the beloved son of a mighty, wealthy prophet to a slave. This alone is beyond the comprehension of most of us. When Joseph gets to Egypt, he works his way up in the world through hard servitude, only to be framed for rape and cast into prison. He remains there for years.

Perhaps stop and absorb that one…framed for a crime and serving prison time for it? How many of us would be throwing in the towel with such clear evidence God is either not there or He does not care? Yet, Joseph Smith and even Christ experienced those same tragedies.

Joseph remains faithful, and not only that… he keeps going and works his way up in the prison world. In short, he makes lemonade out of lemons – which is a perfect description of faith.

I think Neal A. Maxwell may have coined it best when he said, “the question is not ‘why me?’ but rather ‘what now Lord?’

When the tide turns for Joseph, it turns. He becomes one of the most powerful men in their ancient world – with great fame, fortune and family. He then commands the respect of those who formally antagonized and opposed him, including his brothers.


It seems the lesson of opposites is guaranteed in our lives. We must experience misery to comprehend joy fully. Faith is the sustenance and power with which to navigate the trying phases in our lives.

Faith is also the opposite of fear or giving up; it’s the opposite of becoming resigned to an inferior fate. Instead, faith is a call to action and courage.

Action and Courage

2022 and the coming years will require action and courage, both spiritually and emotionally. Are you ready?

In chapter 41, we first read about Pharoah’s dreams and the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. Through inspiration and preparation, Joseph navigates a whole country through this catastrophe.

Why should this story matter to us? Because history repeats itself. Feast and famine are the Lord’s repeating patterns in the scriptures. Similar circumstances for the latter days are foretold in the Doctrine and Covenants.

And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth. (D&C 29:16)

Yet people don’t take these warnings seriously or prepare for them when they easily could. Why?

It’s something called normalcy bias. We haven’t experienced a particular type of natural disaster, so we disbelieve that it’s happening until the consequences are too late.

Normalcy Bias

Here is a definition from Google – see if the perspective feels familiar:

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a cognitive bias that leads people to disbelieve or minimize threat warnings. Consequently, individuals underestimate the likelihood of a disaster, when it might affect them, and its potential adverse effects.

What is an example of normalcy bias? For example, a normalcy bias makes it difficult for us to engage in “worst-case” thinking and plan for a serious failure or disaster. A normalcy bias causes us to assume that, although a catastrophic event has happened to others, it will not happen to me.


Joseph’s considerable efforts to prepare for natural disasters are an important example for us to follow in 2022. Food shortages and crop failures are prophesied for our time. Chaos and failing government structures are predicted for our time. Are you ready?

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  1. Cheri Carrell

    Thank you for this good explanation of what Joseph went through to succeed many different times in his life. We know that the strong have been saved for the latter days, but Josephhas gone through so much, and other people in the OT too. Do you think that each generation will be stronger than the last since the restoration of the gospel to the earth through Joseph Smith? Or for all time?

    • Shawnie Cannon

      That is a great and wonderful question! It appears there have been noble and great ones since the beginning and there have been weak counterparts since the beginning of time. There has been a need for the very strong in every unique dispensation. God is no respecter of persons and all are alike unto God, and the cultural teaching that somehow we are better than someone else because of what year we are born might need a second look. Certainly it takes great strength to be valiant in our time, but many will not pass that test. It took great strength to be a pioneer. It took great strength to be a Saint after Christ died. There have been crazy challenges, wars, government collapses, prejudice all along. Certainly only the most valiant will survive our last days and we have a sacred mission to complete – I would venture some of those of older times could have been valiant for our time as well. And we could have been in their time. I can find no scriptural evidence or verse that suggests we are better overall, but I do know only the better and more valiant of us will survive. I do believe you have a powerful, divine side that is most needed right now.

    • Carl Comer

      If there is one thing that history has taught us is that it always repeats it’s self. We all get the same test from the Lord. For me that’s why reading the scriptures is so important, to remember and not forget the Lord.

      • Shawnie Cannon

        I love your insight and the way you phrased it, “the same test.” It’s so true!


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