As part of my New Year's Resolutions this year I began reading through the bible in a year using the Discipleship Journal Plan. I am currently reading Joseph's story in the book of Genesis which I must say is an amazing book in the Old Testament and I could relate to him.
If you're not familiar with Joseph's story, here's what happened in a nutshell: Joseph was his father's favorite and so his brothers became very jealous of him. When Joseph told them their dream about his brothers bowing down to him that about did it and they decided to take him into the wild and kill him. However, they sold him into slavery instead so that they could make some money off of him (How's that for greed and envy?). But God had other plans and he eventually made his way to Potiphar's house. Potiphar's wife was attracted to Joseph and wanted to have sex with him but Joseph was loyal and knew that it was wrong and simply could not and would not sleep with her. She was enraged and humiliated so she falsely accused him of trying to have sex with her. Potiphar had him imprisoned immediately after he heard the allegations from his wife. During his imprisonment he met two of Pharaoh's hired men who needed their dreams to be interpreted and so Joseph did just that. Although one of the men promised he would tell Pharaoh, he forgot to do so and therefore Joseph remained in prison. It wasn't until two years later that Pharaoh needed his own dream interpreted and that was when the cup-bearer remembered that Joseph was able to interpret dreams. Joseph was summoned to interpret a very important dream for Pharaoh. When he did, Pharaoh himself gave him the highest position, second only to Pharaoh. During the 7 years of famine, Joseph's brothers were sent by his father to get grains which, was a source of nourishment, a basic necessity during that time for survival. Joseph recognized them immediately although they did not know it was their brother, the one they had sold into slavery. And it is at this point when Joseph comes face-to-face with his brothers that this verse appears in Genesis 41:24. "Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes."
You see, Joseph had come a long way. All that his brothers meant for evil was turned around for good. God had been able to take Joseph out of Canaan and put him in a leadership position where he saved a nation. Judging by his accomplishments, he was by all means a successful man, however, that could not erase all the pain that he had experienced. If anyone could say that life was unfair, it was certainly Joseph's right. Yet, he never did. What he did do in that verse however shows me that no matter where you are, no matter how much God has been able to bless you and use your pain for good, when you have been hurt, it will always hurt. You see Joseph was no superman. The verse tells me that he the pain of what his brothers had done and put him through was very real. I can assume that he had forgiven his brothers because he gave them the grain free of charge (he returned their money in their sacks). It was not his intention to seek vengeance, but he still "wept" and needed a few moments to "regain his composure".
I can relate to this verse so well. I have suffered injustices in my life (as all of us have) yet for so long, I thought I had to suck it up. I thought that because I was a new creation in Christ, those things that had happened to me in my childhood and youth were no longer relevant. They no longer had to hurt but this verse shows me otherwise. When you have been harmed especially when it is unjust, no matter how much time has transpired, it will hurt. There is a wound.
I have not yet finished reading through the life of Joseph in Genesis but what I have read thus far has given me so much peace. I've always thought that I had to be strong but now I am sure that it is not I that needs to be strong, it is Christ through me that heals my pain and gives me the strength like he did to Joseph to "regain my composure".
I can honestly say that everything that has happened in my life, God has used for a purpose. And those things which seem unfair now, I am confident he will use them someday.
Here is my heart's prayer,
Thank you for your word. It is living and active and it has spoken to my heart. It has shown me how you took an innocent man and allowed him to live through unfair circumstances, to be falsely accused and imprisoned, yet you did not leave him there. You made him victorious and used him for your purpose. I pray that this may be true of my life. Lord, use those things you have allowed in my life for the good.
I also pray for those who are hurting and asking "Why Me?" that you would give them a peace that surpasses all understanding, that they would be able to rest in knowing that you are in control.
I thank you that one day, Lord, one day you rescued me from the miry clay. Thank you for being my savior, for being my everything. I love you!
In Jesus' Name,
The complete story of Joseph can be found here in Genesis 37-50.