Writing a blog post takes time and energy.
It can be easy or it can be arduous.
It is more fun to write about my favorite things,
I assure you.
However, God and people and relationships are
among those favorites.
I suppose that even the posts that cause me to squirm as much or more
than you are just as important.
As you read today, keep in mind that every blog post is a mirror
before my face and as I gaze intently and intentionally, I find
a window leading me to His face, finding grace and mercy in my
time of most desperate need.
If you see a mirror today, don’t forget there is a window as well.
I love this name.
Carl and my favorite biblical character is Joseph found in the
last portion of Genesis.
God will add is the meaning of Joseph.
When we found that we were expecting a third child, we knew
that Joseph would be one of our boy names.
We didn’t find out what we were having with the first two pregnancies.
There are so few surprises anymore.
Technology is amazing but perhaps we were old-fashioned and wanted
this fact to be hidden.
However with number three and daughters who would be 14 and 10 when
the momentous event happened, we decided to take a peek.
A boy, that once we laid eyes upon him, would be named Caleb meaning faithful,
adding Joseph as his middle name, anchored him into our family.
I never fancied myself a nickname person until I had children.
I wonder if my kids ever pause when asked their name, running through
all the possible answers.
Caleb has so many pet names.
He calls himself Cale and Nick.
I have no idea where the second name came from.
One day he just said,
“Call me Nick.”
We also call him Joseph and Jo Jo.
He and the girls came up with Broseph. Funny!
For a family of five, we have quite a few names.
I apologize for the long introduction.
Now you know my heart for Joseph and as you can imagine
I have read the account in Genesis many times.
When I approach it, I pray that God would give me new eyes
to discover different facets.
Today was one of those days.
I read the first eleven verses of chapter 37.
As a summary, it is clear that
of the 11 brothers, Joseph is the most loved by their father Jacob.
If there was any doubt, Jacob made him a spectacular tunic to make his affections
His brothers hate Joseph for this reality.
I wonder what they called Joseph.
Joseph beckoned to his brothers to listen to his dream.
In a nutshell he said, you guys will one day bow down to me.
His brothers hate him all the more.
What did they mutter under their breaths when they thought
of Joseph and his big dreams?
As quick as a flash,
Joseph was back with another dream expanding the breadth of
of his future status to reverence from sun and moon no less.
Jacob told Joseph to pipe down and the brothers added jealousy and
envy to their hatred.
3 times in these 11 verses we read of the brothers hatred, jealousy and envy.
Verse 4 in the amplified version caused me to pause:
But when his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than all of his brothers,
they hated him
and could not say,
Peace [in friendly greeting] to him
speak peaceably to him.
Other translations say that the brothers could not speak kindly to Joseph or could not speak to him at all.
I find the amplified version quite telling.
The brothers’ jealousy and hatred waged war.
The war was so intense they could not even greet him in peace.
They couldn’t even say hello without it having evil undertones.
There cannot be peace when there is hatred and jealousy.
I wonder if Joseph’s brothers avoided him?
How often was he the punchline of their jokes?
Oh that little dreamer!
It is easy to use humor to deflect our true emotions.
What did they say behind his back?
This morning I had to take inventory of my relationships.
Do I have people who I avoid?
Could my avoidance stem from jealousy?
Have they hurt my feelings?
Have they taken a position that I assumed was mine?
Does my heart quicken or tension rise when I think about a certain person or
am in their presence?
What do I say about this person when they are not around?
What adjectives do I say aloud or are those words saved for my mind alone?
This could point to lack of peace.
Peace and anxiety cannot co-mingle.
Would I rather stew than resolve?
Do I feel entitled to my attitude?
Wasn’t Joseph a bit boastful in his delivery?
Do I avoid hearing about someone’s exotic escapades because it draws attention
to the umbrella in my hand, not in my drink?
Do other’s dreams cast a shadow on my own distant ones?
Could God love them more?
I don’t think these are questions to quickly dismiss.
The likelihood that you or I would resort to the actions of Joseph’s brothers
are quite remote.
Yet if there is not peace for my brother or sister then
war is intended, if not in action the damage is done in our hearts.
Wars result in deaths.
Relationships can be loaded up on a caravan and sent to a faraway land,
declaring them as good as dead.
It takes courage to inspect thoroughly to reveal bloodstains.
Psalm 34: 14 encourages,
“Depart from evil and do good;
seek, inquire for and crave peace and
pursue (go after) it!”
Oh that I would crave peace in all my relationships.
It has been several days since I began this post.
This morning, we woke up to a light layer of snow.
Our backyard in its normal winter state is a disaster.
There are scattered branches, plants that I should have pruned during the
autumn, pine cones among other debris.
But when it snows, my backyard is instantly transformed into a place of beauty.
It has the appearance of being clean, pure and innocent.
The snow fools the eyes until the sun shines.
I imagine that is why we have the expression to “snow someone”.
The photo above was taken of our front lawn after the sun began to shine.
There is snow.
There is ice.
There is fresh green grass.
Will we continue to snow others with our false smiles allowing
our hearts to become icy?
Or will we let the Son fully shine in our lives so that our hearts’
true conditions are revealed and allowed to thaw?
It is only through the thawing process that
new patches of growth are visible and can flourish.
This morning I read one of my favorite psalms.
Psalm 27 could produce countless blog posts on its own.
I read the first verse and I had to stop and pray it back to
my Maker in gratitude.
It is hard to look in the mirror.
It is not just because of aging.
It is hard to find yourself lacking once again.
But I remain thrilled that my God is Light.
The light of His presence reveals and illuminates those
areas in my life that need to be drawn out.
Yet He is also my salvation.
He won’t leave me to drown in a puddle of my own melted snow.
He comes to me with a towel and an embrace.
He is my Refuge and the Stronghold of my life.
I don’t have to be afraid to dig deeply or be seen by Him.
If any part of this lengthy writing has spoken to you,
go to Him and find His already outstretched arms.
Seek His face.
His face is positioned towards yours.
I would encourage you to read through Psalm 27.
Let Him remind you that He is present and able to fight
every enemy, be they physical or spiritual.
May you crave peace with God,
in your heart and
in all your relationships.
If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12: 18