“Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.” Genesis 39:1, NRSV
In the story of Joesph, we are told that Joseph began as part of a large, prosperous family. And we are told that “Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children. . .” Joseph was his father’s favorite. He was clearly spoiled and doted upon. He had a charmed life.
From this cozy, familial life, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and ended up as a servant in the household of an Egyptian security guard. Basically, he wakes up in a new land, with unfamiliar food, clothing, culture, religion, customs, and language. And he is no longer spoiled and catered to. Instead of being served, he must serve.
Joseph’s life was turned upside down. He woke up a stranger in a strange land. He experienced complete dislocation. It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of Joseph’s disorientation.
While we might not be dropped into an unfamiliar culture and feel lost, there are times when our lives are rocked. Think about being told that your son has just been killed in a car accident. What about finding out that your wife has had an affair. Can you imagine coming home from a concert or a play only to find that your house has burned to the ground? Or going to the doctor and finding out that there is an aggressive cancer, it cannot be treated, you may have a couple of months to live.
Disorientation and dislocation are not only geographical and cultural. It can happen right in the midst of our very every day lives. Have you had an experience that threw you for a loop? Knocked you flat? Think about how you were able to find your balance again. Restore your center. Regain your ability to function.
We may not like change even when it is positive. We surely don’t like change when it is forced on us and it involves loss and suffering. But humans are amazingly adaptive. We have an incredible capacity to reorient and to heal.
In this season of Lent as we seek to become re-centered and grounded in our spiritual lives, we may consider ways that we need to adjust and adapt to new circumstances and situations. We may not like it but reorientation may be necessary. Sometimes we simply must learn to accept new conditions. Thankfully, we have been created with a huge capacity for adjusting, coming to a new normal, healing and becoming whole again after drastic disruption.
Whatever life may bring, we can trust our sacred center to hold us true. We are endowed with an immense capacity for growth, healing, and transformation. While we may not like change, while tragedy may rock our world, Love will see us through. The story of Joseph and the story of Jesus inspire our trust. Amen.