This morning, we looked at the story of Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers, leaving him alone, in a pit, without hope – and his response to this.
Andrew Croycroft opened his talk by speaking of 3 different situations he had been involved in, where people face hurt…boyfriends cheating on girlfriends, disappointment, death, broken relationships, stress…and asked what our response to this should be.
He suggested the 2 choices we have:
1. Living in Godless Chaos. We know and believe that there is an invisible God, working in visible ways in a seemingly random world – but forget that for a minute. Let’s look at it only in terms of circumstances.
In Joseph’s family, he is an object of hate. His “pain CV” is extensive. Judah, his brother, has a great business head, and decides to sell him off to slave traders. Thus, Joseph’s life appears to be over as he is forced into a human trafficking ring. This is not the only time in Joseph’s life he faces difficulties.
Why does this perspective of godlessness matter? Because it’s our default setting. Jack Johnson sings “all we’ve got is questions, we’ll never know”…we ask, what is the point? We struggle with the present, carry scars from the past and are apprehensive about the future.
The second way to approach hurtful situations is, however…
2. The “God-in-control” Perspective. Is everything broken, lots, meaningless…a vast mime under the mask of the absurd (nice phrase, Andrew…!)? We know that this event and hurt is central to both Joseph and God’s stories. Joseph is spared so his brothers don’t get in trouble, but he is rescued by God so God can bless him. Happy theology – “don’t worry, everything will be fine…” – that’s not what it’s about. The Bible doesn’t give us a sugar-sweet Christianity, but rather, through it all, God is in control. That is our truth. These are pieces that God can put together to make something beautiful. Christianity is more than a prescription for happy living – it’s living with the hand of God who is in control over us, who does good things in the darkest of circumstances.
Someone went ahead of us, though, in saying “I am Joseph”, through the pain. Jesus, hanging on the cross, knew that God was in control had a plan to rescue the nations.
Understand this: God is at work in you. You are hurting. God is in control.