The dramatic scene rolled out before me. Rich Egyptian culture filled the room, contrasting sharply against the huddle of scraggly shepherds. Helpless, asking for favor in the sight of the Egyptian official. Who had frowned on them.
Called them spies.
It was a scary situation.
One word and all their foreign heads would be rolling in the ditch.
In a way they really deserved it. You know. They wanted to kill him years ago when they had him way out numbered. Jealously is a cruel thing. Selling him off to the passing by train of travelers must have seemed like a very generous choice, when they could have just finished him off.
I’m sure all this flashed through Joseph’s mind.
The day they ripped off his prized coat and threw him into the pit, uncertain how to kill him.
The raw burn where the shackles wore deep into his flesh and
the long, cruel journey to the auction block.
The rich pillars and tapestries in Potiphar’s house,
the sensual grasp of his wife,
and again, a robe and position left behind.
Accusations, false though they were, and the cold bench in the prison.
Banished again to darkness and shame.
Finally here, dressed as Pharaoh himself, wearing even the ring of the man revered as god.
What a life he had lived.
The wail that erupted from his heart and echoed off the polished walls reverberated deep from his soul. All that pain, mingled with the joy. A story so long hidden, shut away, sealed, at last poured from his lips. I heard it as I read the story. It pierced me heart and even after my eyes had gone on to the next chapters, my mind stayed back there. Where that wail escaped from his soul.
But these men, THESE men brought up old wounds.
He again heard the language of his childhood.
The sound of his father’s voice.
The taste of foods nearly forgotten.
The glimpse of his only full blood brother.
Memories of carefree laughter as they scampered through the tents.
Of a life that could have been lived.
A life with his father.
A life long ago stolen.
He had every reason to be bitter. Bitter at his brothers for hating him. At his father for not protecting him. At Potipher for not seeing through his wife’s deceptive lies. At the chief butler, who in his own good fortune, forgot the man behind bars who had given him hope.
At God, for allowing his life to be crushed again and again.
He had been hurt, deeply hurt.
But somehow, through the twisting and turning of his life journey, somehow, he was able to keep an objective view. To remember to look at more than here and now. God’s purposes were more important to him than demanding to understand of his life situation.
“You meant it for evil, but God had a bigger plan. He used it for good.”
He didn’t just say these words, he had lived them.
Wow. I pause.
Would I choose such integrity?
When I had “every reason” to live as a victim?
When people around me would nod and pat my back, crooning, “You’ve been treated so wrongly…”
Would I choose to be honest with myself?
Obedient to a life of transparency with God?
These are hard questions. I know the answers are hard too. It even breaks down into how I raise my two kiddos. How do I train them to respond to life situations? Do I nurse an attitude of woundedness, or help them to see objectively? How to relate with them in their pain while helping them to move beyond it and see a bigger picture…
My goal, for myself and for my children, is to view life from eternal eyes.
To see now from a bird’s eye view. A higher outlook.
It sounds lofty.
Hard to attain.
But really, it breaks down into this little moment.
Listening to the whispers of God to my heart.
To hear his take on my situations, and agree with him.
Its freeing actually. Funny how choosing the harder thing is freeing.