To today I had a "Meet the Author" event at The Secret Garden Tea Rooms. I took the greeting cards I've made and some of my book, Life After Death: A Mother's Story.
My friend came with me and we began the day with a hearty breakfast then set up ready for whomever arrived to chat.
It wasn't long before our first visitors arrived. I sat chatting to them, and others throughout the day, sharing some life experiences together which was a real privilege.
It's times like these when I definitely cast my mind back to the story of Joseph. Now we all know the main story of Joseph, how he was sold into slavery, suffered a lot of hardship under Pharoah before becoming his right-hand-man and ending up, through love and forgiveness, moving his family to Egypt and caring for them.
The big trouble came when Jacob, Joseph's Dad died. His brother's were afraid and thought that without their Dad, Joseph would not be good to them anymore. They went to Joseph and tried to tell him that their Dad had said that they must be nice to them even though he would no longer be with them. Joseph replied, in Genesis 50 verses 19 to 21,
"Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph wouldn't have chosen the life he had, but God knew that he could use the situation to help so many people. Joseph recognised that he had much to learn both as Joseph the brother, and then Joseph the man. He didn't like living through his experiences, he found them very hard to bear, but bear them he did. Through it he saved the Egyptians, and many other people from the famine that had ravaged the land.
He very clearly never gave up hope that he would be reunited with his family and was overjoyed when that happened. His relationship with his family would have been different if he had not been separated. We have no way of knowing whether that would have been a better or worse relationship, but what we do know, is that their relationship was restored and they realised how much they had missed and loved each other.
If we are open to it, we can learn from all situations, the good ones and the bad ones. No one said that it would be easy, but it is not impossible.