October 20 Reflections

Often our families seem a little messy. We can wonder about God placing us in a particular family in our foundational years of growing up. With the mess, is it possible for us to believe that God was up to something good in those circumstances? It is a mixture: there was positive and negative, there is light and darkness. One way to deal with the past is to pretend it did not happen. Only remember the positive. But even if you try to blot out the “mess” it has a way of creeping into our lives in how we respond today. We learned a “way of being” in the mess, that is not healthy spiritually for us today. For instance, if you were taught as a child to be quiet and never speak, it can be hard for you today to speak up for yourself and say what you believe. The past has a way of showing up in how we respond today. And a lot of this has to do with our families of origin.

Joseph grew up in a mess. His early life was one mess after another. Yet, somehow in the midst of it, he trusted that God was up to something good in his circumstances. Think of Joseph: his mother died when he was young; he had a father who spoiled him; his brothers hated him; sold him into slavery; his brother slept with his daughter-in-law; he was imprisoned under a lie; he was forgotten and this is just a piece of his life. But this past did not stop him from living in the present and into the future with confidence that God was up to something good.

Too often we get stuck in the past and end up like Miss Havisham from Charles Dicken’s novel Great Expectations. The daughter of a wealthy man, she received a letter on her wedding day at 8:40 AM that her husband to be was not coming. She stopped all clocks in the house at the precise time the letter arrived and spent the rest of her life in her bridal dress which eventually turned yellow, and wearing only one shoe since she had not yet put on the other at the time of the disaster.  Even as an old lady, she remained crippled by the weight of the crushing blow. It was as if everything in the room and house had stopped. She decided to live in her past, not her present or her future. Can we believe that in all our circumstances (even the past) that God is up to something for our good so we can be fully alive in the present and into the future. Can we be open to the unfathomable love of God to receive healing for the past hurts and “mess” of our lives? We are going to think about that as we begin a study of the life of Joseph. Some passages to reflect on: Genesis 37; Hebrews 12:14-15; Romans 8:26-30; Matthew10:26-31.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn