“…the LORD gave [Joseph] success in everything…” – Genesis 39:3
“It could be worse.”
“It’s darkest before the dawn.”
“Something good must come from this.”
You’ve heard these. They’re meant well. They prove that we don’t process trauma well. Sometimes silence is best, right? If someone just sat with us until things got better.
But what if they don’t? What if abuse doesn’t stop? Anxiety never leaves? Therapies don’t work?
We could give in. We could do whatever makes us feel better. We could end it. If it’s not going to get better, why not kill myself?
And now you throw Genesis 39 into our face and show us Joseph’s success? I do. Mind you, he’s still a slave. God didn’t free Joseph. God didn’t suddenly make Joseph powerful. Those things happen. But first, Joseph spends years as a slave and in prison falsely accused of rape.
Joseph could conform. He could curse God. He could be a wicked, lazy, unfaithful servant. He could dole out physical and sexual abuse upon those below him. He could indulge in the sex his master’s wife offered. He could say, “God screwed me! Screw him!”
But he didn’t. Pay attention. Whether you’ve been abused, are being abused, or know someone who has. When Joseph holds firm to his trust in the Lord, he offers his body as a sacrifice to God: not conforming to the world, not doing what it wants, what makes us feel good, what’s most convenient.
Martin Luther said about Joseph: “The Word spoken by his father reigns in his heart…. ‘My father has taught me. No matter how long God wants to forsake me, I will hold out. My father has taught me to believe and to wait patiently for God’s help, no matter how long He postpones or delays. “Wait for the Lord….”’” Wait. God remembers. He remembers you. He wrote you upon his hands, the hands imprinted with the marks of nails that attached him to the cross. After going through such trauma for you, he doesn’t forget. In fact, he wrote his name upon you when he baptized you.
Father, lead me out of temptation. Forgive my sin. Bless me according to your will. Amen.