Genesis 45:4-11 (CEB)
4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” and they moved closer. He said, “I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. 5 Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. 6 We’ve already had two years of famine in the land, and there are five years left without planting or harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. 8 You didn’t send me here; it was God who made me a father to Pharaoh, master of his entire household, and ruler of the whole land of Egypt.
9 “Hurry! Go back to your father. Tell him this is what your son Joseph says: ‘God has made me master of all of Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t delay. 10 You may live in the land of Goshen, so you will be near me, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everyone with you. 11 I will support you there, so you, your household, and everyone with you won’t starve, since the famine will still last five years.’
It is so easy to focus on the yuck in our lives. For me personally, I can sometimes dwell in the current menu of shame, guilt, and/or regret for hours. An unkind word spoken to a loved one. My impatience causing me to raise my voice with one of my daughters. The news of a friend’s illness. Harsh criticism regarding one of my projects. Stressing out over my mountain of laundry. Feeling like a parenting failure. An ugly and judgmental opinion. I am not proud of it, but it happens.
When I first read the story of Joseph in the Bible, all I saw was the yuck of his story – his immature arrogance, being sold into slavery by his own brothers, accused of rape, thrown in prison, and forgotten by prison mates who were released. When and how was God with him? This man could not catch a break! From the slave situation to the end of the story, over twenty years had passed. TWENTY years!
My guess is, during his time in Egypt, Joseph could see small parts of God’s Master Plan. It may not have been during the trip down to Egypt with the other slaves, but maybe when he landed the position in Potiphar’s nice home. It may not have been when he was falsely accused of rape, but maybe when he was thrown in jail instead of given the presumed death sentence. Perhaps Joseph realized God was with him when he became Pharaoh’s Prime Minister.
In hindsight, we can see God’s presence throughout this entire story. Even Joseph acknowledges this in verses 5-8 during his reconciliation with his brothers. In the end, it is God who gets all the credit and glory for rescuing Joseph’s entire family. Let’s be real – we do not get to see the full-scale version of His Master Plan. It is above our paygrade. Yet, how wonderful is it that He allows us to experience His goodness when we look for it. The acknowledgment of God’s steadfast presence, protection, and providence can be powerful and motivating.
You see, friends, He is with us even in the yuck. When I hurt from regret, He is there to show me forgiveness. When I cannot stay on top of the laundry and feel overwhelmed with my list, He is there to tell me I am enough. When I get mad at myself and I cannot shake it, He gently reminds me I am His Beloved. He is always there because He wants a relationship with us. Are you focused on the yuck, or do you want to, like Joseph, figure out how He is working through you?
Thanks for being the loving parent who stays with us through our yuck. As you say in Genesis 15:1, YOU are our great reward. You alone. Help remind us that this reward is free to us and all we need to do is choose you instead of getting caught up with these earthly troubles. Thanks for always being present in our lives. We love you. In Jesus’ glorious name we pray…. Amen.