If you are just joining us, welcome! This is Part 3 of a series on the life of Joseph, especially the “in-between years”… the time between the dream and the destiny. I am also sharing my own story, as it so closely parallels Joseph’s. He was betrayed, cut off from family, wrongly accused, and suffered hardship for years at a time, yet God’s favor was upon him. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.
Gen. 37:25, 28
25And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh on their way to carry them down to Egypt.
28Then Midianite traders passed by;so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
The Bible doesn’t say how long Joseph was in the pit, or what he was thinking while he was there. But does it really need to?
You’ve no doubt experienced being in at least one pit during your lifetime. What were you thinking when you were stuck in a pit and powerless to get out of it on your own? Maybe something like: Whaaat just happened here? How did this happen? Is this really happening? Someone p-u-h-l-e-a-s-e wake me up from this nightmare! I want out of this pit now! How am I ever going to get out of here? Sound familiar?
If I was a betting woman, I’d lay odds that Joseph was feeling angry, confused, overwhelmed, sad, shocked, scared, and maybe even broken-hearted – all at the same time.
Can I just insert one little thing here? It really doesn’t matter how we got in the pit. Sometimes we’re pushed in. Other times, we don’t see the pit for all the potholes and fall in by accident. Some of us jump in with both feet (raising my hand and saying, ‘been there, done that’). In other words, a pit is a pit, and it’s really not helpful to judge how people get in a pit, but to be ready and willing to help them get out, if at all possible (hint: not everyone wants out of their pit). How many of these pits can you identify with?
It was Joseph’s brothers who threw him in the pit, and pulled him out. I wonder if it looked to Joseph as if his brothers had come to their senses and were rescuing him? What he probably didn’t realize at first, was that even though he had been rescued from one pit, he was about to be thrown into another by being sold into slavery in Egypt.
On a frigid, January morning, I sat with my nose pressed to the window, mindlessly watching crews de-ice the wings of the aluminum behemoth that would carry me more than 2,500 miles away from friends and family and all that I knew.
Everything in me wanted to jump up, make my way down the aisle and run back inside the gate entrance where I knew my family was watching and waiting for my flight to take off. But I also knew that nothing I did was going to make a difference or change their minds about the situation.
The relationship had continued to spiral downward after my return from the reunion and I had been given a choice; stay in their home as a “guest” (without the possibility of ever being counted as family again), or leave. For a few weeks, I held tenaciously to the hope that we could work things out, that we could come to some kind of understanding. But I began to wonder what I was hanging onto ~or for~ when all of my siblings joined in on the shunning. In all of the emotionally charged, stinking, filthy, muddy mess, one thing became crystal clear. I had to leave.
The last opportunity for reconciliation came and went as I slipped my arms around my dad’s waist to hug him goodbye. I prayed in that brief moment that he would say something… anything to stop this relational train wreck. You can’t go. We don’t want you to go. This has all been a big mistake. We love you. We can work this out. C’mon, let’s get your suitcase and go home. Instead, his arms lay limp by his side and his lips pursed tightly closed. His face was expressionless and held no clues as to the emotional havoc playing out in front of him.
The captain’s announcement jolted me back to the present moment. “Folks, we are finally cleared for take-off. What do you say we ditch this weather for 72 degrees, and sunny, Southern California skies?” The cabin erupted with applause as my heart began to bleed out.