"Surviving Life's Mud Puddles"
Chapter 4 (Perspectives from a Ditch)
Have you ever been on a road trip before? Some trips are fun while others can be frustrating depending on how long you are traveling and who is traveling with you. My kids drive me crazy when we are traveling. My husband and I constantly hear... “Are we there yet? How much further? When will we ever get there?” I’m sure I probably asked the same questions from the back seat when I was younger. Someone gave me the idea once of giving them a road map from one of the gas stations along the way. They assured me that it would cut down on the questions. I don’t think they ever met my kids. One son in particular increased his questions. “Is this the next town on the map? How many more miles until this city? What exit number is this? This is awesome!” … maybe for him, but not for me.
Can you imagine Joseph’s road trip? He traveled alone, probably on foot, for sixty plus miles looking for his brothers only to find out that they weren’t where they were supposed to be. Some unnamed man he meets along the way directs him to where he thinks they may have gone. Actually it says… “a man noticed him wandering around the countryside (vs. 15).” He must have looked suspicious or frustrated. At this rate, Joseph could be walking all over the country trying to find his brothers. His mind may have been filled with thoughts of “…Hopefully they stay put for now until I can get there. I promised father I would check on my brothers, but how far should I go? He would have to give his best effort… his word was his word and he would keep it.
Are you a person of your word? When you say that you will do something, do you do it?
When Joseph finally saw his brothers in the distance, he was probably relieved. No more wandering all over the countryside to find them. We are not told at this time, how long he had to travel to actually find them. It could have been days, or weeks. I’m sure his father sent him with food and provisions to give them. We do know he sent Joseph wearing that special coat he gave him as a gift (Gen. 37:23). When his brothers spotted him, they had a different reaction than Joseph.
Some quick, sharp-eyed spotter saw Joseph in the distance and probably said… “Guess who is coming to visit us!” Just the sight of him ignited a deep hatred within them. I’m sure the conversation turned to name calling and unmentionable comments being spewed in Joseph’s direction. They were immediately inspired to plan to kill him. Wow… that was harsh. I get angry with people at times, but just the sight of them does not provoke me to want to kill them. There is more going on here than we know. This seething hatred toward Joseph isn’t something that just happened. It has been growing and festering inside each of them for years. Sin left unchecked in our hearts can cause us to do things we never dreamed we would ever do (Genesis 4:1-8, 2 Samuel 11, Romans 7:15-25).
Is there anything in your heart or life that you need to confess to God so you can be free?
There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "My grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily." The little old man was so moved that he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. "Honey," he said, "that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?" "Oh," she said, "That's the money I made from selling the doilies."
We all get angry at times. It is what we do with that anger that makes a difference!
Living to leave a legacy,