“Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named the first born Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house. “ The second he named Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.” Genesis 41: 50-52
Joseph had made peace with his past. He had put it behind him. He was over the torment caused by his brothers. He had laid to rest his bitterness over his enslavement. He had accepted his lot and made the most of it. No looking back. No wonder he is so undone when his brothers appear to buy grain. To Joseph, then may seem to be ghosts.
Sometimes we may work hard at something like overcoming our past. Maybe we were born into unfortunate circumstances and we have struggled to do well in life. Maybe we have made some kind of mistake that has really cost us and we have done everything we can to put it behind us.
Sometimes we may work hard to eliminate a character flaw and we think we are over it. We apply ourselves with self help techniques or therapy or an accountability group. We truly endeavor to eliminate a trait that we see as a flaw and something that is not good for us, those around us, or the world.
Maybe something comes up in a conversation and we realize that something we had resolved is not as resolved as we thought. “I thought I was over that,” we may think as we stew about something. We feel blindsided. Taken by surprise.
Maybe we have applied ourselves to dealing with an addiction and we think we are steady in our recovery only to find ourselves using again. How did that happen?
We think we’ve made progress and then life happens. And we’re taken aback. It is time to regroup. To examine where we are as opposed to where we thought we were. These are opportunities to become more whole and more compassionate toward ourselves and others. God is not finished with us – yet!
We are grateful for our faith and for the way of Jesus and how we are encouraged to grow throughout our life’s journey. May we look for the lessons and learnings that life is bringing to us. God is always moving us toward reconciliation and love. Amen.