IT WAS NOT YOU…BUT GOD
with Rev. Rachel
8 IT WAS NOT YOU…BUT GOD Genesis 45
Are there verses of sacred story more profound than these?
4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
For at least two reasons, I do not compare my life experiences. One: She who has not been subject to human trafficking ought approach the subject with care. Two: A vessel of mercy that true, that deep…I have not been. I may never be.
What I can identify with, however, is groundwork—how people choose to see what they endure and what they give in the light of making a way for something else. These go-beforers put the “holy” in drudgery. They are agents of blessing who seem to keep one hand on the shovel and the other pointing to the goodness of God.
Such a person as this recently surfaced. How can I help? Due to fatigue or a lapse in judgment, I answered abnormally. I had many people to thank and next to nothing in the tank. Could she equip the church, that week, with some gratitude-conveying goodies? Could she arm the pastor with gifts?
In a day’s time, there she was, hands full with that for which she would get no credit. If I was tempted to apologize or acknowledge the undue stress I imposed, the little bit of Joseph in her eyes said it all. ‘It was not you…but God (v.8).’ I am who I am. I give as I give. Relax.
Joseph is functional (narratively-speaking). He helps us connect the dots between the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan and the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He also happens to be a real man—with real pain— who, by the grace of God, embraces his role and is thereby freed to embrace others.
One hand on the shovel and the other pointing to the goodness of God…look for them this way. Their stance is unmistakable. It’s the posture that makes for peace. To Joseph then and to the Josephs now: Thanks for filling our wheelbarrows