29 Later, Reuben came back to the empty well. He saw that Joseph wasn’t there. He was so upset that he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Now what should I do?” 31 Then they got Joseph’s beautiful robe. They killed a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the robe back to their father. They said, “We found this. Take a look at it. See if it’s your son’s robe.” 33 Jacob recognized it. He said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has eaten him up. Joseph must have been torn to pieces.” 34 Jacob tore his clothes. He put on the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. Then he mourned for his son many days. 35 All Jacob’s other sons and daughters came to comfort him. But they weren’t able to. He said, “I will continue to mourn until I go down into the grave to be with my son.” So Joseph’s father mourned for him. 36 But the traders from Midian sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt. Potiphar was one of Pharaoh’s officials. He was the captain of the palace guard.
There is nothing neat and tidy about this part of the account of God’s people. We have brothers betraying their own younger brother and then faking his death, a grieving father and Joseph traveling to Egypt as a slave. Looking at this snapshot it is hard to imagine how God could possibly be at work in the midst. What mess. And these are supposed to be God’s chosen people. Chosen to be a blessing to the world! Really God? You couldn’t find someone more suitable? More responsible? More moral? You were prepared to use this motley crew?!
How amazing that in the mess of humanity and sin, God was at work. How amazing that God didn’t throw in the towel with these people and find someone else to work with. How amazing that God stayed true to His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even in the face of their shortcomings.
What hope there is for me in this. God is committed to fulfilling His promise to all who believe in His son, saving us and partnering with us, despite our mess. God is bigger than my mistakes, my weaknesses, my limitations… My humanity is not an obstacle to God. He has been working in and with people like me for thousands of years. I think my God can handle it!
God, help me to unlearn the belief that somehow I have to be extraordinary in myself to be acceptable to you and used by you. Thank you for this reminder that you are totally capable of using me as I am. Your bigness more than covers my lack, for when I am weak your power goes on glorious display. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh