The Beautiful Process – Read Part 1 Here
Last week I introduced this topic – The Beautiful Process – and as I have sat down many times this week to continue writing, I’ve had this sense that I am going to need 5,000 parts to fully convey my heart on this area. Obviously that’s a slight exaggeration, but overall, I feel this area is so important.
I’ve decided to just stick with the 3 parts, however, and today, I am going to chat about Joseph in the Bible and his beautiful process.
Joseph’s story really begins in Genesis 37. He was the second youngest of Jacob’s 12 sons, and he was Jacob’s favourite, which is obviously never a good thing in sibling relationships. His brothers hated him.
At the beginning of the story, Joseph was 17 years old, and right away we learn that Joseph received two dreams from God that both allude to him reigning over his brothers, father, etc. in a position of power. As the second youngest and being only 17, it seemed pretty crazy and unlikely, and even though his bothers were already jealous of him, Joseph decided to tell all of them of his dreams.
His brothers hated him even more.
As they were out working for their father, Joseph came to meet them, and they plotted to kill him. However, the oldest son convinced them not to kill him but rather to sell him to some travellers passing by.
Sold by his own brothers.
Joseph’s “Beautiful Process” was not off to a very good start, and if I had to guess there could have been moments of doubt and disbelief in the dreams God had given him. How could these dreams actually happen when he’d just become a slave?
After Joseph was sold, he was bought by Potipher and eventually rose to power there, working directly for Potipher and handling all of his affairs. Potipher’s wife was attracted to Joseph, though, and several times tried to pursue him. Joseph continually said no, but one time he was there, he left his cloak behind giving her the opportunity to plot against him. She did just that, frustrated by his refusal of her, and Potipher sent him to prison.
In prison, because of the favour of God on his life, he was put in charge of the other prisoners. While there he met two men who were put into the prison directly from Pharaoh. He interpreted their dreams and pleaded with the one to remember him once he got back to Pharaoh. The man forgot, though…for 2 years.
Finally, after 2 years went by and the man remembered, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, and after he interpreted his dreams, Pharaoh put him in a position of power – 2nd in charge of all of Egypt.
As Pharoah’s dreams came to pass – 7 years of plenty, followed by 7 years of lack – Joseph was confronted face-to-face with his brothers.
They bowed down to him because of his position of power just like in his dream.
Joseph took awhile before he actually revealed himself, but when he did, his response was astonishing.
“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5
Several verses later, it says that “he kissed all his brothers and wept over them.” (v. 15) His response was astonishing to me because these were his brothers that sold him into slavery!
How did Joseph respond this way to the very people that hated him, faked his death and sold him into slavery?
That’s how. A lot can happen in 22 years, and I am not just referring to all the circumstances Joseph went through. When he met his brothers again after becoming 2nd in charge of Egypt, he was 39 years old. 22 years older than when the story began. A lot of circumstances happened, yes, but more than that, a lot of character development happened.
Joseph responded out of a place of grace and integrity. He responded as God would have him respond because he had time to learn, to grow, to develop. God had shaped him into an incredible man, and although God had given Joseph those dreams when he was 17, they didn’t happen overnight or without a LOT of struggle.
Joseph’s process was so incredibly beautiful. His character reflected Jesus, and that only happens over time. Over times of testing and hardship, over times of success and fruitfulness. Character development is an event that happens every day, every year, for the rest of our lives.
Joseph’s story inspires me. I look at some of my journey, and I see the value in the process that a few years ago I did not see at all.
In the next part, I will dissect the Millennial Generation and talk about why it’s so important that we learn the value of Joseph’s story. The value of process, of character development, of refinement.
If we are going to change the world for God, we must have the character to back it up!