WHY BOTHER? JOSEPH OF EGYPT


 

       (I’m continuing to study the life of Joseph of Egypt.  The concentration has been on the thirty seventh chapter of Genesis.  I’m counting on some who’ve joined me in the study to add their own observations.  Let’s learn what we can, live by the truth we consider, and share it with others who may need just the kind of encouragement you discover.  –dk)

        One of the reasons I feel compelled to deal with this kind of study is that so much of what I see, read, hear, and understand about human experience is so much like what happened to these Biblical figures so long ago and so far away.  I’ve seen glimpses of my self in some of these lives, as I honestly tried to view my self in the mirror of Scriptural truth.  

          Ive spent quite a bit of time considering “God’s Comeback Kids.”  I consider myself to be becoming one of them, and I’m trying to learn what I need to know about:  How did they get “off course?”  Who caused it?  How did they handle the adversity?  What effect did that have on their “comeback?”

          Almost everyone I know has, at some point, been driven off course by life’s events.  For myself, I confess it has taken place sometimes publicly, too frequently, and always to my shame and regret.  Sometimes it has been some dumb or selfish mistake or choice I made.  Occasionally, others may have participated in or contributed to my dilemma.  Even while I acknowledge with regret that some whom I’ve loved and trusted betrayed my trust on occasions, I’ve seldom been an “innocent bystander” in any of the fiascoes in which I figured.  And I have to acknowledge I’ve caused my share of pain and suffering on the part of those who should have received better treatment from me.   Sometimes circumstances over which I had no control had something to do with my feeling “lost” or “forsaken.”  But, in retrospect, I know I could (and should) have reacted with more wisdom, faith, and courage.

          Another reason for my looking so closely at God’s “Comeback Kids” is that, no matter how often or far they fell, or got knocked down, or strayed away, they never stayed there.  They did not luxuriate or wallow or whine in a puddle of self-pity.  They learned the lesson(s) God knew they needed to know in order accomplish the tasks for which they were created and prepared.  And He was faithful to them in all their trouble.  Even in darkest, deepest, most trying circumstances He kept His promise to never leave nor forsake His children.  Their emergence from the dungeons and their lives of service after their ordeal speak eloquently of those facts.  Somehow (even without the aid of written Scripture, the records of their own tragedies, trials and triumphs, and the mountains of evidence and testimony by others who were delivered and declared it so . . .) they knew.  By Faith, they knew.  And time proved it to be true. 

          I have no way of knowing what difficulties you’ve had to face.  I certainly can’t tell you why God is causing or permitting things to happen which you don’t understand at the present.  And I don’t know why it hurts so badly.  God knows, though, and that is what matters, isn’t it?  I don’t even know sometimes what He’s doing in my life, much less someone else’s.  I don’t know what He’s got in mind for you, or where He may be leading you.  The important thing is that He knows.  If He has work for you to do, He certainly should know what it would take to get you ready for that. 

          As difficult for you as a trial of faith may be, I believe you can draw comfort from knowing God really does know who you are, where you are, why you are in that place, and what His plan is for you once you emerge. 

          For a while, I’m considering Joseph.  He was just a “kid” when we first meet him.   I would have figured him for a “goner” once the brothers turned on him so suddenly and brutally,  and threw him away the way they did.  I’d never have counted on his becoming one of the “Comeback Kids.’ 

      We’ll look more closely, more carefully as this drama unfolds.  Chapter Thirty Eight of Genesis is an “aside” which looks at some other internal matters in one of Scripture’s most famous “First Families.”  As Chapter Thirty Seven closes out, and the sun sinks over the desert sands at Dothan, a caravan of merchants and camels is silhouetted against the sky.  With them, perhaps trudging wearily is a battered, beaten young man.  His heart is broken.  His future looks bleak, to say the least. The odds are that he’ll wind up forgotten by history, buried with other slaves in unmarked graves in Egypt.

 A servant, a friend, and fellow student, donkimrey

Advertisements

One response to “WHY BOTHER? JOSEPH OF EGYPT

  1. Don, I am including the following quote from your recent writing because you have described exactly the path of my personal life over the past decade or more, and it bears a second reading by all of us who are on a journey of faith. “…looking so closely at God’s “Comeback Kids” is that, no matter how often or far they fell, or got knocked down, or strayed away, they never stayed there.  They did not luxuriate or wallow or whine in a puddle of self-pity.  They learned the lesson(s) God knew they needed to know in order accomplish the tasks for which they were created and prepared.”

    Reared in a Christian home with both parents being loving, Christian people and having a comfortable, happy existence as the baby in the family, it never occurred to me as a younger adult that I could not accomplish anything I chose to do. Many times I attempted things, and finished them, which others told me were “too difficult”, “professionally unnecessary”, etc. In doing these things it seemed to me that there really wasn’t much in life that couldn’t be accomplished by anyone who was disciplined and “set his/her mind to it.” Consequently, while having a certain amount of sympathy for those less fortunate than me, I also held a strong belief that God helped those who helped themselves. I proceeded quite self-sufficiently along this path for many years. THEN, as if scripted (and I believe now that it was), some of my decisions and choices were being made during periods of duress: working without break for 60 or more hours per week, facing injury and deaths of several loved ones, and I made poor decisions when too stressed or tired to consider them carefully, etc. The “next thing I know”, I had lost everything.

    For years I walked around in anger, GUILT, etc., etc. Then, one day while I was working in a retail establishment, having lost professional licenses, an old friend walked into the store, took me by the hand to lunch, and gave me some reading materials and a not-to-gentle lesson in returning to the faith with which I was reared. That friend also reminded me that I had gotten myself into this mess, and that only God and I together could get me up and out; but that it was necessary and that God had a plan for me. At the time it didn’t seem likely that God could do anything with or for me. But politely I took the materials home and I gradually started reading and studying. My faith was, over a period of years, restored and as I studied, I began to open my mind to new possibilities and experiences; having no idea what they might be.

    After several years of studying and healing, one day I was invited to lunch by an old client/friend. At that lunch I was invited to work with a new organization being developed to help underprivileged youth who have become caught in a legal system from which many never escape. I explained that this was a foreign subject to me and I was without any training or background for such a task. She stated that she believed my years of “being lost and wandering in the desert” (coupled with my educational background) were good training for helping those who know nothing about the “System” in which they are trapped. Thankfully, I listened to her and over a few months became aware that without my own failures and seemingly endless “tunnels of darkness”, I NEVER would have understood the feelings of fear, rejection, and hopelessness faced by so many people in our world today. Having recognized that, it seemed that God had indeed prepared me and placed me in circumstances where I can, hopefully, serve to some good.

    Sorry to have taken so much space, but I wanted to perhaps encourage others, and YOU especially, to continue to walk the path to self-knowledge and an even stronger faith in God. Remember what it takes to make steel, and it seems to me that surrendering ourselves to those same formulas of heat and pressure, may be the only way we become the steel-like Christians who can honestly say we were “honed” by God. Please continue your writings as your insights are needed by so many.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s