July 6th has passed, Ramadan is over and the other shoe has dropped… I am not in Jerusalem anymore. The ‘Radical’ journey of self-sacrifice, the” Insanity of Obedience” I volunteered for, has ended in just nine short months. Through circumstances unavoidable and inevitable, I was asked to leave.
“Yes, you must go! You have 2 days. That will be enough time to pack up everything you own, all your earthly possessions into one suitcase and although your pets are precious, you can just find someone willing to take yours”. Me thinks, “Didn’t I just do this? Go through this? Give up my job and everything that I had collected in my life so I could go join in the Father’s work?
But, snap! Just like that, I was excommunicated from the missional community, my supposed family, with no opportunity of explanation, no opportunity of restoration. I was not even told the “why” about anything. “Is this biblical, Christ-like, compassionate?”
What happened? Well, it’s a long story and I do not feel compelled to tell it. But this I can do, I will tell you an allegory from the bible – one particular story whose circumstances run very close to those of my story. I will share with you the story of Joseph.
“Now the Ishmaelite’s had taken Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, one of the king’s officers, who was the captain of the palace guard. The LORD was with Joseph and made him successful. He lived in the house of his Egyptian master, who saw that the LORD was with Joseph and had made him successful in everything he did. Potiphar was pleased with him and made him his personal servant; so he put him in charge of his house and everything he owned. From then on, because of Joseph the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian and everything that he had in his house and in his fields. Potiphar turned over everything he had to the care of Joseph and did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Joseph was well-built and good-looking, and after a while his master’s wife began to desire Joseph and asked him to go to bed with her. He refused and said to her, “Look, my master does not have to concern himself with anything in the house, because I am here. He has put me in charge of everything he has. I have as much authority in this house as he has, and he has not kept back anything from me except you. How then could I do such an immoral thing and sin against God?” Although she asked Joseph day after day, he would not go to bed with her. But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the house servants was there. She caught him by his robe and said, “Come to bed with me.” But he escaped and ran outside, leaving his robe in her hand. When she saw that he had left his robe and had run out of the house, she called to her house servants and said, “Look at this! This Hebrew that my husband brought to the house is insulting us. He came into my room and tried to rape me, but I screamed as loud as I could. When he heard me scream, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me.” She kept his robe with her until Joseph’s master came home. Then she told him the same story: “That Hebrew slave that you brought here came into my room and insulted me. But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me.” Joseph’s master was furious and had Joseph arrested and put in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept, and there he stayed (Gen 39:1-20)”
Needless to say Potiphar, second in charge to Pharaoh, knew the true character of his wife. He knew the character of Joseph otherwise he would not have put him in charge of everything he owned. He knew. He knew without any shade of doubt that Joseph did not do the things that were told him, but he had to act. So why did he have Joseph thrown into prison?
Potiphar was an important man with an Egyptian reputation to think about. Moreover, Potiphar had to set an example in his own household. What would the other slaves think? And yet, we can surmise that if Joseph had really committed such a crime against his family, he would have put Joseph to death, probably by his own hand. After all, slaves are disposable, aren’t they?
This is my story.
Of course, everyone, even remotely connected to or involved in this, has to ask “So, how are you doing?”
I’m Bitter of course. I’m Angry, obviously! But… Forgiveness, No Way! …until yesterday. A friend shared with me that not forgiving, is like drinking the poison offered by the wicked witch and expecting HER to die. That’s not logical, reasonable, comforting or healing in any way. So, then I heard a sermon, written by God, that explained and reiterated, specifically ‘the end of the story’, my story.
Genesis 45:8 reveals that God is the one who planned and orchestrated Josephs’ life. God did so to not only bless Josephs’ family, but the nations. Men plotted evil, but God turned it for good (Genesis 50:20). So, has forgiveness now come, for me? Yes, praise be to God, I can forgive and trust/rest in His plan. In Him, will I trust.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).