“When we live according to our fears and our hates, our lives become small and defensive, lacking the deep, joyous generosity of God.”
However, “life with God," Brueggemann writes,”is much, much larger, shattering our little categories of control, permitting us to say that God’s purposes led us well beyond ourselves to give and to forgive, to create life we would not have imagined” (The Threat of Life).
I appreciate the big way Brueggemann writes of our lives and of the generosity of God. The fear and even terror being nurtured in us these days makes us want to shrink and withdraw rather than breathe deeply of God's grace and mercies. Perhaps that is what trust requires of us, no matter how things appear at the moment. And who knows, God's timely gift– to deal with the crises at hand, considering what opportunities we have, and like Joseph, using it for good: not for ourselves or for revenge, but for the good of all.
So, Joseph can say, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into
Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because
you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. …” So it was not you who sent me here, but God; (Gen.37.4-8).
Mercy is not only a gift, mercy is an art. And as an art is to be practiced else we might get side tracked by the temptations for sweet and niggling revenge, or allow for resentments to grow when they could be nipped in the bud. The story of Joseph leads us through the distresses and fears of broken relationships, the pain that traverses generations until it is acknowledged and addressed. We can count on it that God is always working toward our good and the good of all creation. We will resist, we will even plot our own path, but when we come to that grace filled realisation that God is somehow in this too, then the perspective must change. We are not Joseph, but we have those in our lives we can no longer conceal ourselves from, for our good and theirs.