Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joseph was nothing special

Many times, I think, as Christians we have (or others have) some special power that allows us to handle trials & hard times *better*. As if simply because we ARE Christians, trials are NOT that hard for us.

I completely disagree. I really learned a lot from Joseph recently. In my Bible readings the past few months I have really began to see how *human* we all are. Joseph was no different. A true man of God but he still wept, grieved & had hard times.

His brothers plot to *kill* him. WHO would not feel rejected & alone in a family like that? They end up selling him as a slave. How alone & scared he must've felt. Eventually he ends up in running a high ranking officials home. He is in entrusted & in charge of *everything*. It may appear @ first that he is living the *high life* & has no reason to complain, right? But he is still a *Servant*, which is proven when Potiphar's Wife tries to seduce him & he being a man of God refuses her advances & literally RUNS away.

She accuses him of impropriety & what happens to all that trust Potiphar had given him? Immediately it is shown that Potiphar's loyalty lies w/ his scheming wife. Where is justice? Joseph is now in jail for a crime he did not commit. Because he knew God are we to assume his life in jail was any better than the other prisoners? That it was not hard? That he did not miss his family because he was living in a rich man's house prior?

He finds favor even while in jail--but let's face it---it's JAIL! Eventually he is reinstated to a high position again. There is a famine in the land. It's been *years* since he's seen his family. Years.

I imagine he still thought about them, even though it is not mentioned.
What is mentioned & stood out to me, was how he reacted when he did see his family again.

They came seeking help because of the famine. When Joseph actually saw them---he did not immediately reveal who he was. They did not recognize him. So many times he looked @ them, then turned his back & wept in private. Why was he crying? I imagine all those years, he thought he would just not think about it. He would *move on* w/ his life...put the past behind him...right?

Like we try to do so many times & w/ so many issues in our own lives. Joseph was a man of God true. But he was not w/o pain, suffering, betrayal, abandonment & GRIEF! When he saw his brothers--imagine all that pain rushing back into his heart. All those memories that he may have thought he had forgotten & *gotten over*. IF so then why was he crying? Why did he keep his identity a secret from them?

I *think* it was because he was so confused. Torn between wanting vengeance & justice & feeling that longing to be part of his family again. All those issues resurfacing---even YEARS later!

I don't believe God expects us to not feel sorrow & pain over offenses. I believe he knows how we feel. He wants to heal us but we need to acknowledge that we experience disappointment, sometimes major, within our lives. But He, in his infinite wisdom knows how to gently lead us to the path of forgiveness, restoration & reconciliation. Eventually Joseph reconciles w/ his brothers & father. He forgives them, treats them very well & renews some form of relationship w/ them.

It is not immediate though. He did not deny, to himself, what they had done. He did not rush to them & embrace them as brothers. He messed w/ them a bit, actually.

Forgiveness, IMO, does not mean we need to deny offenses we have endured or experienced. I don't believe it even happens over night. I believe it is a process. There is a wide range of emotions & feelings to sort out after we have been mistreated. There is no shame in that.

But we can trust God to work those things out within us. I don't believe we can do it on our own. I think the first step is admitting how painful or hurt we are. & trusting God to work out the details within our hearts. He can create a sense/spirit of forgiveness within our souls. Some offenses are easier to forgive then others. Some take less time to process & *get over*.

But none the less, we need not deny when we have been abuse & hurt.


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