“…the LORD was with [Joseph].” – Genesis 39:3
Abuse destroys lives: physically, psychologically, emotionally. Sometimes abuse kills. This is why we fight back. We pray, of course, but we also report physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as the crime it is.
And yet, Christians survive abuse. Martin Luther looked at Joseph and appealed to a theologian named Augustine who wrote, “the miracles performed daily in the world surpass those performed by Christ.” There’s better than blind receiving sight? Yes. Every day God the Father feeds the world. Every day God takes care of birds and plants. Every day he is your God, your Father. Your life is a miracle. You’re here and I’m here – miracle. We get to baptize children, preach the Word, commune – miracles. We eat, sleep, work, play – miracles. From God.
Which is why you’ll survive. I know this because Moses says about Joseph: “The Lord was with him.” This isn’t Joseph picking himself up by his bootstraps or having more grit. This is the Lord being with Joseph. Joseph is, by faith, a temple of the Holy Spirit. That gets you through: when God lives in you and with you.
Moses gives us Jesus. “The LORD was with him.” That’s Christ. You know, God with us. Immanuel. That’s what Moses says. God is with us. Jesus was with Joseph, preserving, protecting. He’s with you. In injustice. In abuse. In success.
“The LORD was with him.” Sometimes this is all I get. It’s what I need. It got David through: “You are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.” The LORD is with him, and it’s the crucified Lord. It’s Jesus, who came in the flesh, who became Joseph’s brother and yours. Jesus suffered every temptation Joseph suffered. He suffered every abuse, and more. Jesus let the world abuse him for you. Jesus nailed to the cross is the Lord with us. He’s with us in slavery and death. Until he breaks free. He rises, like Joseph. Joseph rises from the dead: from the pit, from slavery, from prison. This points to Christ, the one who can’t be killed or destroyed, but rather destroys the power of death. For you.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit, you have promised to be with me, keep me firm in that promise when you seem to be gone. Fix my eyes on your love for me in Christ. Amen.