Since this morning’s sermon at The Church at Avenue South from Aaron Bryant, I’ve been thinking about the story of Joseph in the Old Testament a lot today. More specifically, my thoughts have been centered on Joseph’s brothers.
I’ve always wondered why it was that when his brothers came to Egypt to buy food during the famine that Joseph recognized them but none of them knew who he was.
I realize that he was probably dressed in Egyptian garb and would have had his hair and beard styled in the Egyptian fashions of that time.
I wonder if one of the reasons he was able to spot them was that they were still stuck in that moment when they made the horrible decision to sell him into slavery over 13 years ago.
Some of you reading this are still stuck in the past. You’re frozen in time in the moment when a relative hurt you or a friend betrayed you or a spouse deserted you. You haven’t been able to move past that moment in time.
Joseph had moved on, both literally and figuratively. By the time his brothers showed up, he had been though slavery, false accusations, imprisonment, and later exaltation. He had seen how God was with him through it all.
He was able to see at the end how God used what his brothers had meant for evil and turned it into something good. In fact, God used what was done to Joseph to set up the salvation of an entire nation in the making.
You come to the place where you release the hurt and pain done to you when you realize how God has redeemed it. When you’re able to forgive those who wounded you, you open the door to the prison and find out that it’s you that you’re setting free.
God still works all things together for good– even the bad and hard things– and that includes your story. That doesn’t excuse what people have done to you and it doesn’t lessen the pain, but it does mean that your wounds and scars are not the end of the story. God has a way of redeeming and restoring what was taken from you and giving you something so much better in return.