I just re-read the brutal account of Joseph and the well with fresh (and sleepy!) eyes. I never before noticed that after his brothers threw him down into the empty well, they sat down to eat. Did you get that?
The brutality of such an act is beyond me. I can’t sit down to eat when I am stressed out about conflict! It seems so cavalier and callous to sit down to dinner while contemplating the murder of your own brother.
Yet despite their devious plans, God stepped in and turned Joseph’s life towards another path. Perhaps he overheard them discussing his murder. How must have that felt? I’ve often wondered if he was relieved to be sold into slavery after having been so close to death. Or did he despair of ever seeing his father again? Or wish he had never been given that special coat?
When hard times press on me, I find myself wishing I could turn back the clock, make a different decision, have a different outcome. That wistful feeling crept over me when my daughter broke her arm at gymnastics last year…if only I had not signed her up. If only we had skipped class that day, perhaps she would not have broken her arm.
Yet God has a plan! God used the devious plotting of Joseph’s brothers to set the wheels in motion for his gradual rise to a high leadership position in the Egyptian government. God knew what was coming. To the human mind, there is no connection between being thrown in an empty cistern and later becoming second in command to Pharaoh himself. But there was a connection in the mind of God.
There was also a connection in the mind of God between my daughter breaking her arm and our eventual involvement in Classical Conversations. Her social activities were active ones — gymnastics and ice skating, and I had horseback riding on the horizon for her. The broken arm changed everything, from the way we did math to the way she had to do her spelling. She learned how to write with her left hand. And we joined an Essentials class mid-year so she could have some connection with other kids while her arm healed. I figured it would be a safe environment…there would be no balance beams to fall off in a grammar and writing class! What I didn’t count on was how God would use that exposure to light a fire in my entire view of homeschooling. I saw firsthand the beauty of classical education. I amazed myself with the amount of material I was learning right alongside her, and my husband caught our “Grammar Fever” and enjoyed jumping in our practice at home.
Now, ten months later, I am a director of a Classical Conversations community. I have to believe that this is one piece of the big plan God has for our lives. I didn’t see it when I was down in the well, riding in the ambulance with my daughter and wishing I could turn back the clock, but that plan was there nonetheless.
People say that when life throws you lemons, it’s good to make lemonade. Tonight’s reading reminds me that God is the one who created the lemon tree! He is the source, He is the beginning, He has a plan for you and for me just as he did for Joseph.
Whether we see it or not from our perspective down in the bottom of the well doesn’t matter. He is God! And we can rest and TRUST that the pain or discouragement or depression we may be suffering is just one note in the symphony he’s creating of our lives. That page of music will turn. A new movement will begin.