Last night, our class talked about Joseph and his forgiveness of his brothers. After years of slavery and separation from his parents, Joseph tells the brothers who threw him in the pit: "What you intended for evil, God has used for good."
In those long years, I wonder how many times Joseph wept, alone in prison or in a foreign room. I wonder how often he fantasized about revenging himself on the brothers who had betrayed him so deeply. Many of us never forgive our family members for much lesser wrongs. Yet Joseph was able to forgive them, because even in their evil, he saw the hand of God at work.
Joseph saw past his suffering to a deeper truth.
Sometimes in a period of suffering, all I feel is the invasive presence of pain--the alienness, the not-rightness of it. I fight it and try to get it out by sheer will, but it relentlessly digs its way in like a team of men channelling through solid land.
This is the deeper truth. When pain comes and digs its channels through me, God is there beside me, waiting with uplifted vessel to pour streams of grace and healing into the empty places. All I have to do is let it flow in.
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in you
Oh master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.