It has been a while.
I would love to say that I've spent this time working off my midsection but that would be a lie. [Much like saying "coffee tastes terrible" or "that pizza was a bad decision".]
My sweet girl moved to Lynchburg and started a new semester [and lots of new adventures] at Liberty University. My favorite long snapper and my favorite coach spent a weekend in Las Vegas learning as much as they can about special teams. [Just an FYI for those of you wondering what the heck the long snapper does....he snaps the football to the kicker and/or punter for PATs, punts, and field goals. He DOES not snap the football to the quarterback....that is the center. Carry on....] The babes and I have enjoyed lots of laughs, snuggles, snow, and movies on the couch. Short has enjoyed sitting in his recliner, watching the playoffs, finding terrible cable access for us, and being in his pajamas.
The first big blizzard of 2016 was rather uneventful. Its been nice to stay at home and do virtually nothing. [I'm fairly easy to please...] LuLaRoe leggings, a nice blanket, plenty of coffee, and the Shorties make being snowed in pretty OK.
I picked up a book yesterday that I began reading at the end of the summer. It is Restless by Jennie Allen. The subtitle reads, "Because you were made for more."
I must confess that I have been restless and
I describe it as sort of a holding pattern or a spinning of wheels [most if not all of it self-induced and extremely annoying to my sweet husband who has had to listen to me...the man deserves a medal and lots of chocolate chip cookies] that I felt I had no control over.
On the back of the book, in big huge letters, is a question:
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE MISSING SOMETHING?
Yes. Affirmative. Oui. Si. Right on. Absolutley. Nail on the head.
So what am I missing out on?
Enter Joseph, son of Jacob, and brother to eleven fairly jealous brothers.
Joseph's father Jacob [also known as Israel] loved him more than his other sons because he was born to Joseph in his old age. He gave Joseph a beautifully crafted robe of many colors. Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers [which they should have paid attention to very closely] and they hated him more. They then did the absolutely unthinkable: They sold him for 20 pieces of silver. [Just a little Biblical history here...a shekel is about 11.5 grams. They sold Joseph for about 230 grams. The current price of silver/gram is about $.46. In today's money, they would have made roughly $106 for their BROTHER.]
Ultimately, Joseph's steadfast commitment to weather the storms of his situation [sold by his family for almost nothing, wrongfully accused of taking Potiphar's wife, imprisonment, abandonment, loneliness] and to obey God led him to his destiny: second in command to Pharaoh.
But more than than any of that, Joseph was reunited with his brothers and with his father. He had every opportunity [and I would say the absolute right] to make them pay for throwing him into that cistern and lying to his father about his death.
Instead? He forgave them, long before they came to him for food in a time of famine and distress in Egypt. Unknown to them, when he sent them back with food and asked for Benjamin and his father Jacob to come back to him, he even returned the money they paid for the food.
Shekels of silver.
In each bag of grain for each of his 10 brothers.
I have pondered this story since I read it yesterday in way that I've never thought about before.
I've tried to think about how Joseph might have answered that question on the back of the book....
He missed his father's anguish over the thought of his death.
He missed watching his brother's marry and have families.
He missed family cookouts and holidays.
He missed the love of a family.
But he never, ever went without faith in God's unwavering and sustaining love. Even in the midst of being sold, as a young boy by jealous brothers, he committed himself to following God's plan for his life...no matter where the journey would take him.
I couldn't help but be ashamed at how I've been feeling and then I had some questions of my own...
Have I ever sold out others for the sake of myself? [I'd be lying if I said no. So would you. I know I am not alone...just honest enough to say it out loud.]
Have I ever felt sold out by someone? [More so as an adult than any other time in my life. Sometimes, people are just plain mean.]
Have I ever compromised what was right for 20 shekels of silver? [Unfortunately the answer is yes.]
Throughout every single up and down in Joseph's life God was weaving Joseph's circumstances with grace and love and forgiveness.
Joseph wasn't missing a thing. His low points on his journey gave him the opportunity to praise the very same God that gave him the high points of his life.
Just as God had planned.
I am not being left behind, spinning my wheels, letting the world pass me by [all things I've said recently] but this season of my life is just part of this amazing story God is weaving for me through relationships, struggles, and gifts.
At the end of Joseph's life, after Jacob died, he reassured his brothers that he was not holding a grudge at them. They called themselves slaves as they bowed at his feet.
"But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Twenty shekels of silver.
One amazing, God-breathed life.