The first time you had to be away from family might have been the happiest day of your life. Or, being away could have been one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do. But you may have never experienced any kind of separation. You have family a few miles down the road or even in the same house. The Bible tells you about people in each of these situations, and because it does, you get to learn about what God can do with imperfect people.
To Think About:
- Look at the events in Genesis 39. How would you describe Joseph’s situation at the beginning, middle, end of the chapter? When were you recently tempted to do something you knew wasn’t right? Joseph ran. How did you respond to your temptation? Why did you make that choice?
- Look at the events in Genesis 40. The contents of this chapter are sandwiched between surprising responsibility and surprising forgetfulness. When was a time you were forgotten or overlooked even after you made a difference in the life of someone? What feelings go with being forgotten?
- Look at the events of Genesis 41:1-40. Briefly describe Joseph’s rise from a dungeon to a throne. When was the last time your messy situation was resolved and become something very good? Did you recognize God working when you were in the middle of it? Did his perceived presence or absence surprise you?
- Read Genesis 45:1-7. This isn’t probably how the movies or TV shows would have Joseph responding. They might have him full of wrath in a horror movie or loading a six-shooter in a western. But in the real-life story of this chapter, how would you define Joseph’s response to his brothers? What explains his willingness to respond in this way?
To Live Out:
No matter how complex or imperfect your family situation is, you aren’t part of a horror movie or western script. That doesn’t minimize the pain, the abuse, or the forgetfulness at the hands of others. But it reminds you that you are serving a real God in real-life. He wants to use you. Specifically, he wants to be heard in your words, seen in your actions and modeled in your choices. Before you make your next decision about any of those things, remember God. Remember God so others can see God.
To Pray About:
- What God is doing, or trying to do, in your family may not be clear to you. Ask for clarity, but pray for strength to do what is right even when right seems hard to do.
- Thank God for how he’s worked in so many families and individuals day after day. Thank him for how he’s rescued you before and ask him to help you see how you might be used to help rescue someone else.