Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lessons From Joseph’s Early Life (Age 17–30)

Imagine you are one of the youngest of 12 brothers in a pretty dysfunctional family set up. You’re picked on, mostly because you’re Dad’s favourite. Your brothers get sick of you one day and decide to lock you away in a disused house out-of-town. No matter how much you scream you cannot be heard. Living on a cup of water a day and some stale bread crusts, while your brothers ponder for days what they should do with you:
What do you feel; what do you think; what do you fear?
It would be natural to be fearful and to be cast into despair.
Your brothers decide they want to fix ‘their problem’ once and for all – they sell you into prostitution (which we know to be a form of slavery). To ensure the truth is covered up, your brothers fabricate your ‘death’. Your father is overwhelmed with grief – and, as time would tell, he never truly recovers.
You become a man in those circumstances, and somehow you find the favour of your eventual boss – the Federal Treasurer. You’ve established a position of trust and have everything you need; you’ve amassed a significant degree of influence. You get a promotion. You’re trusted to be the spiritual overseer in his house.
But, one day your boss’s wife comes onto you; she says: “I have watched you, I admire you, and I’ve fallen for you; come to bed with me!” she insists. You’re mortified. You’re paralysed for a response, yet running from the house, she grabs your coat, and ripping it from you, is heard to shout, “Yes, keep running you rapist!”
Doublecrossed, you go into hiding, but not long afterwards you’re captured, tried and jailed – incarcerated again!
Lessons from Joseph’s Early Life
So, what did Joseph do? How did he recover?
The Bible tells us it was his faithfulness to diligently just get on with the tasks of seeking God – his faith in God’s providence over his life – that distinguished him from many of our typical human ‘reactive’ devices of response.
Instead of allowing his pride to squash any shape of emerging recovery, Joseph simply stepped. Perhaps in his day there may have been no choice but to hope for better.
This is how it is for us. We have no option – if we truly wish for the abundant life – and why would we not? – but to keep working as if were working directly for the Lord. For we are!
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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