ועתה אל־תעצבו ואל־יחר בעיניכם כי־מכרתם אתי הנה כי למחיה שׁלחני אלהים לפניכם׃
כי־זה שׁנתים הרעב בקרב הארץ ועוד חמשׁ שׁנים אשׁר אין־חרישׁ וקציר׃
וישׁלחני אלהים לפניכם לשׂום לכם שׁארית בארץ ולהחיות לכם לפליטה גדלה׃
Yosef said to his brothers, "Please! Come closer." And they came closer. He said, "I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But don't be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. (Gen 45:4-7)
LIFE IS NOT RANDOM
“Finding meaning in life's difficulties makes them easier to cope with. The Chofetz Chaim commented that from the time the brothers first came to Egypt to get food and Yoseph accused them of being spies, they were puzzled about what exactly was happening. However, once the brothers heard the words "I am Yoseph", their questions about the chain of prior events in Egypt were immediately clarified.
Similarly, when the world hears the words "I am HaShem", all of our questions and difficulties will be answered. Realizing that HaShem has a "master plan" -- even if it beyond our comprehension -- gives meaning to our hardships and suffering. Even if you don't know the exact meaning of a particular event, the knowledge that there is an ultimate meaning will enable you to view the situation in a positive, albeit painful, manner.” Zelig Pliskin.
Life has a way of happening, and very often, against many of our wishes. These are times when our personal satisfaction and happiness hangs on whether we fight it, flow with it, or accept it. I would dare to venture and say that each of these modus operandi are good, in their proper time and place. It is like the poor soldier who was asked to go deliver a message across enemy lines. He was told to zig-zag in order to avoid the flying bullets. When he was later found wounded and bleeding from several shots he was asked what happened, he replied, “I guess I must have zigged when I should have zagged, and zagged when I should have zigged.” There are probably times when we should fight what seems to be a ill destiny, but there are also times to flow with it or even accept it. Wisdom is to have the right attitude at the right time.
I am reminded of King David who when insulted by Nabal, Abigail's husband wanted to destroy the man and all he owned (1 Samuel 25:34), but at another time, he allowed Shimei to insult him because he knew it was HaShem reminding him of his sin (2 Samuel 16:5-13).
ATTITUDE DEFINES OUR ALTITUDE!
Of all the attitudes to have about the seemingly negative things that can happen in one's life, I think Joseph had the best. He had the universal one; the one that is true and that works at all times. His attitude serves as a model for all those who have decided to let HaShem have the final say in their lives. When his brothers came to him in fear, he said to them, “Don’t be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God;“ (Genesis 45: 5-8).
Joseph, who had all the reasons in the world to complain and even abandon God, was aware of the often forgotten truth: we are not the masters of our fate. The quicker we come to that realisation, the quicker our lives will seem to flow with some sort of reason. The quicker we realize that God is the one who has everything under control, the good, the bad, and even the ugly, the quicker we are able to make sense of life.
LIFE IS NOT RANDOM.
We might not know the sense, but the fact of knowing that life is not random but that there is a maker, a decided, someone watching makes the difference. This is the realisation that has kept me going through a rather turbulent life, knowing that whatever the turbulence, I am not a ship helplessly abandoned to the elements of a vast wild ocean. There is a Plan. There is a Planner. There is an Idea. There is a Purpose. Joseph's tests of faith also taught him that there was a Plan, a Planner, an Idea, and a Purpose.
When Yeshua addressed the Israelite multitude of His days, He did not promise that God would alleviate their present day suffering. He did not tell them that he would kick the Romans out. He did not tell them that if they gave their lives to HaShem they would be healed of all their sicknesses, would not know hunger or thirst anymore, nor suffer under the pain of diseases. What He told them was,
"How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. "How blessed are those who mourn! for they will be comforted. "How blessed are the meek! for they will inherit the Land! "How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled. "How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy. "How blessed are the pure in heart! for they will see God. "How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God. "How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. "How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! (Mat 5:3-11)
No matter what their present conditions were, and no matter even if they lived or died, not even a sparrow does falls to the ground, not even a hair falls off our head without the Father knowing about it.
All Yeshua told people is that life is not random. A child can be afflicted from cancer and it is not random. A husband or a wife can die of a car accident because someone chose to drink and drive, and it is not random. A baby can be born with a handicap and it is not random. Understanding that there is a purpose in everything changes the way think about life.
This was Joseph's attitude. An attitude that kept him from harboring hateful revenge against his brothers. An attitude that kept him from abandoning the God of his ancestors when things went wrong. An attitude that brought him from the lowest of hell to the highest command in Egypt under pharaoh himself.
MAY WE LEARN FROM THIS.
May we learn from Joseph. May we learn his lesson.
May we use today's small and great troubles as tests, as training grounds to prepare us, so that when the times called, Jacob’s Troubles come, we will be strong in the face of he who will tempt us to backslide towards hatred, anger, and vengeance.
A story is told that once the passengers of a vessel steaming along the St. Lawrence River were very angry because, in spite of the fact that heavy fog was encircling the boat, full speed ahead was maintained. At last they went to the first mate, & complained, "Oh, don't be afraid!" the mate replied, with a smile. "The fog lies low, & the captain is high above it, & can see where we are going."
Would we be tempted to complain of the way our Great Captain is leading us? He can see the end of the way. Our ship may seem to be aimlessly tossed to and fro in the fog and winds of adversity, but we should not jump ship. We should instead remember that Yeshua is a seaworthy captain who sits high above and sees where we are going.