Proud, haughty, flashy, and an inflated ego. Words that I think fairly describe Joseph in his youth, but also words I would use to describe myself in my more ignorant youthful days. I was not terribly humble and certainly came across more harsh and judgmental than I would like to admit. Like our friend Joseph from today's reading, I had a lot to learn.
Life happens. It humbles and teaches you when God knocks you off that high horse of self-righteousness.
Sometimes life just isn't fair and it doesn't make any sense at all. How would a young teenager make sense of being sold into slavery by his older brothers? Or later on being accused of seducing a woman when he never did that? Sometimes the only way to learn and grow is though the hard, painful, messy stuff. And as this story of Joseph and his family unfolds, we see that. The messy, painful situations were what made Joseph humble, strong, and wise. Those things matured Joseph into a better man.
Our youthful mistakes and sins do not define us, but should refine us.
God refined Joseph through all that happened in his life. It made him a better leader and able to truly forgive his brothers for the suffering and pain they caused him.
Just like Joseph, God wants to refine each us. He wants to use those messy, broken pieces of ourselves and our stories for His purpose, the glory of the Kingdom.
The question is are we willing and open to let Him?
What three words would you use to describe yourself 10, 15, maybe 20 years ago? What three words would you use now? Thank God for the work He has already done in you, and ask Him to continue to grow and teach you.
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.