Making life work


Church this morning was pretty cool.  Due to family health problems, the scheduled preacher couldn’t make it, so we had a time of worship that included much singing and testimonies.  It was really neat to hear from so many different people about what was current for them.

In Sunday School, we studied Genesis 37.  We’ve been studying Genesis for. . . 37 weeks now, I guess.  It’s been so interesting digging into very familiar stories and learning new truth.  Genesis 37 is a very familiar story – the story of Joseph being the favored son, annoying his brothers with crazy dream stories, and finally being sold as a slave.

For some reason, hearing this chapter being read this morning, I had empathy for the brothers.  Oh, I know, some of Joseph’s brothers were very evil.  Simeon and Levi had previously decieved and murdered a whole town full of men.  And they all, with the exception of Reuben, were planning a murder.  Yeah, pretty evil people, I’d say.  But I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for them.

They’ve got this cocky annoying little brother who thinks he’s all that.

He tattle’s on us to dad.  He’s dad’s favorite.  Dad even made him a special coat.  He tells us these crazy dreams implying that he’s better then us and will actually be over us some day?!

It’s enough to make anyone feel a little upset.

And when dad hear’s the crazy dream, he rebukes him – sorta.

So they set out to relieve themselves of this annoyance.  If they kill him, they never have to hear another condescending word out of his mouth.  They no longer have to watch the “special” relationship dad has with him.  Maybe dad would actually notice the rest of us.

Reuben, the eldest, must have had a softer heart.  When he heard of the plan to kill him, he convinced them to throw him in a pit instead.  His intent was to rescue him later and return him to his father.

Judah, upon seeing a group of traveling merchants, came up with another plan.  Sell him, and they wouldn’t be guilty of his death.

So they sold him and put blood on his coat, took it to dad and he assumed, as they hoped, that a wild animial had killed and devoured his son.

Finally, the brat was no longer apart of their lives.  They no longer had to see him prancing around in his fancy coat.  They no longer had to watch the special father-son moments that they all longed for but never recieved.  They no longer had to hear his crazy boastful stories.  They no longer had to deal with him reporting their behavior to dad.  He was gone.  They were free of this bothersome guy.

Except. . .
They weren’t.
They watched their father mourn, for days, this special son of his.
They heard him declare that he would go to his grave still mourning for his son.
They once again felt their dad’s rejection as he refused their comfort.  The brother was gone but. . .

-he still doesn’t want us.  Nothing has changed.  He will always be here to haunt us.

And the guilt. . .  Oh, the guilt and shame they must have lived with.  What they thought would bring relief only brought more pain.

And I guess I empathized because I see a bit of them in myself.  No, I never considered murder, and I have never sold any of my siblings.  But I find myself strategizing and scheming and rearrainging life so I can rid it of any painful.

I want my own way and don’t always like God’s way – the way that sometimes seems surrounded with pain.  I long for the pain to go away.  I want Him to make it stop and when He doesn’t, I take matters into my own hands.

The amazing most wonderful thing of all in this story (and my own) is that God is bigger then man’s choices.  He uses us – our messed up selves, our evil choices, our self-protection – and continues to write the most beautiful story.

In the midst of the most painful difficult times, God is writing His story – His story of redemption.  And He makes something beautiful – because He can and He loves to do good to us.

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