Genesis Day 62: Can't we just forget about it and move forward?
I have noted before in this blog that I am divorced. I don’t write about it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because other people are involved. It is not just my personal experience, it is theirs. To write about it is, in essence, to also write about them. I do not have their permission, nor do I wish to cause them to have to think about it (just because I thought it would be a good teaching point).
Yet it is there.
I know you have painful history in your life, too.
How do I know? Because we all do. We all have events and episodes in our lives that are hard. No one escapes life without them. They live in our hearts and minds and souls. When we reflect on them, it is as if we can see visible scars.
Sometimes we want to forget about them and move forward.
Sometimes the people from those events come back into our lives.
While we might wish we could forget about the painful events in our lives, forgetting them is futile and unhealthy.
So, what do we do? Two points come to mind.
First, let’s make sure we are not owned by them.
Second, let’s recognize how we deal with them is not one-size-fits-all.
There are other episodes that—by God’s grace and plan—we won’t have to revisit. Either the event is too painful, or the people too evil.
There are other episodes that come back into our lives to be revisited, and even move towards resolution.
Thank the Lord we don’t revisit them all, but for the ones God brings back into our lives, my first response is, “Ugh!”
Recently, my life has moved to a new phase which brings me back into contact with people from that more painful era I mentioned above, people who I haven’t interacted with in quite some time. And it has caused me to think and pray—a lot.
Which is where this story of Joseph intersects my life.
The story of Joseph might be more appropriately titled, the story of Joseph and God.
I know that might sound trite, but this point of Joseph and God is sinking into my psyche.
The text has said, “God was with Joseph” (39:2). God has given Joseph the interpretations of dreams. In other words, God is intimately involved in the life of Joseph.
It is God who brings his brothers back into his life. And even they are haunted by their past. They think they’re being called spies because of the fateful event where they threw him into a well.
Unrepented sin, wrapped in a lie, allows guilt to hold us captive.
The road to reconciliation in this story is dramatic. We have Joseph, with his flood of emotions, laying out difficult terms. One of them must stay behind, while the rest go back to fetch their youngest brother Benjamin. On top of that, Joseph returns all their money.
I am not sure why he returned their money. Was it to further entrap them? Was it to not take money from his family? Regardless, in deepens their distress—it heightens the drama of the story.
I wonder about Joseph’s actions at this point. Out of nowhere come the brothers who betrayed him. He has certainly risen to a place of prominence in the world. It is hard to overstate just how important Joseph is as he sits as the number two person of the world’s number one nation.
Perhaps Joseph is not yet sure what to do. He certainly desires to see Benjamin.
Yet I come back to an earlier point. This is not only the story of Joseph. It is the story of Joseph and God. We will see it fully unfold in the coming chapters. Today though, we are in middle of the moment when his long-ago history bursts back into his life. I doubt when he awoke that morning he knew he would be seeing his brothers.
God works like that, doesn’t He?
We might say, “Out of nowhere so-and-so appeared.” God might say, “At just the right time, I sent so-and-so to you.”
In the coming days, we will see how this situation is resolved.