If you have not done so before, please review the Background on the Program
As you start to review this episode, please know that YOU matter. Regardless of what you are struggling with, regardless of the depths of your sorrows and regardless of how lonely you feel, the Good News is that YOU matter. I hope the message below nourishes you in the most meaningful way to comfort you and strengthen you to keep climbing into the ring to face your battles.
Episode #5: The Bigger Picture
Today’s episode starts with a song from Tom Petty, You Don’t Know How It Feels.
Please spend a few minutes listening to any version you can find on the internet.
I hope you enjoyed that song. Tom Petty is a rock icon who gave us so many amazing songs and memories over the years. He unfortunately passed away when he still seemed to have some great songwriting and signing left in him even in his later years. Tom Petty wrote about pain and suffering in many of his songs and You Don’t Know How It Feels was a clear depiction of a painful time in his life.
The song helps us all reconnect with the truth that we all endure some painful times in our closest relationships throughout our life. I am really not sure why, but it is often our closest relationships that are the source of some tremendous highs, but also some incredibly dark and difficult valleys. Family conflict is often the most heart-breaking of all of life’s struggles.
When we look into the ancient scriptures, we find there are many examples of close family relationships that turned painful and we learn about some specific action steps that are the most effective for repairing the close family relationships that are essential to a fulfilling life. The story of Joseph in Genesis Chapter 45 is one we should become familiar with (please find a version of this scripture on the internet).
The backdrop of this situation is that Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, had been through some tremendous hardship brought on by his family and those around him. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because of their extreme jealously of him for the many gifts he possessed and the favor of his father. Joseph ended up being taken in bondage to Egypt where he eventually became like a chief of staff to Potiphar, one of the officials of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Joseph was loyal and exceptional in the performance of his duties. During this time, Potiphar’s wife tried unsuccessfully to seduce him and put forth false accusations against Joseph which landed him unjustly in prison. However, due to Joseph’s ability to interpret the dreams of the Pharaoh of Egypt, he was eventually released from prison and became the Governor of Egypt. During Joseph’s time in this role, he wisely rationed the nation’s produce as he predicted a terrible famine that eventually crippled the area throughout the Middle East.
It was during this extreme famine that Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to beg for food and supplies to support their family. It had been many years since they sold their brother into slavery and they did not recognize that it was Joseph whom they were pleaded for mercy for food and supplies.
How would you feel if you were Joseph? Your brothers sold you into slavery which caused an incredible amount of physical suffering and emotional suffering of being abandoned by your own family…and they show up out of nowhere to beg for you to take care of them. As Tom Petty wrote in his song, “You don’t know how it feels, to be me.”
As the story unfolds, Joseph eventually reveals himself to his brothers. They were very scared that given his current power and how they severely mistreated him in the past, that Joseph would punish them. Instead, Joseph first shows concern for his father and asks, in essence, “How is Dad doing?” and then Joseph embraces his brothers and provides for all their needs. He invites his father and all his brothers to Egypt to be safe and comfortable during the terrible famine.
Joseph teaches us a great lesson about not only forgiveness, but about GRACE, which is when we show undeserved favor to others even when every voice in our heads maybe screaming at us that they don’t deserve anything but rejection and punishment. The principle of GRACE is the foundational principle of ancient Jewish and Christian scripture that is the primary difference compared to all other belief systems across the history of mankind. Grace, our responsibility to bestow blessing on those who don’t deserve it.
Joseph explains his actions to his brothers in Genesis Chapter 45 verse 5-8:
“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
Instead of being angry at his brothers, Joseph communicates the strength of his faith in that many times we may not be able to understand why something bad is happening to us in the near- term, but over the arc of our lives, we have faith that God is in control, His plan is perfect, and we simply need to walk in faith even during painful times.
The message of Joseph and his actions towards his brothers is a great reminder to all of us that those closest to us, especially family members, will sometimes do and say things that are very hurtful. We have all been wronged or let down by family members. However, it is our faith that God is sovereign and perfect in His timing and plans, and we may not completely understand things in the near-term, but we are called to demonstrate grace to those who have hurt us, especially those closest to us in our families, in order to keep our family together and strong for generations to come.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- When have I experienced conflict within my family?
- How did I react in the past to family conflict and how can I show grace going forward to keep my family together and strong?
As you continue along in your journey, please remember that even though our family may have some ongoing conflicts, we should strengthen our resolve to show grace to our family with the hope that keeping our family together under the promises of God will help us build the family legacy we all know is foundational to a fulfilling life.
As you continue to reflect on the message, please take a moment to search the internet to find and listen to Lauren Daigle sing, Hold on to Me.
How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is email@example.com
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