Genesis 50: 15-21
In today’s passage, “It was not you who sent me here but God,” Joseph reassured his brothers when he first told them who he was. In verses 19-20, “But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph did not blame his brothers but removed the blame by reinterpreting what had happened between them. “You meant evil against me,” Joseph said to his brothers, “but God meant it for good.”
When Joseph wanted to hear the voice of God, he listened to his life—to his dreams, to the people he met along the way, to the things that happened to him each day from the very first day he was sold into slavery.
These were how God spoke to him and he learned to be a good interpreter of them, paying close attention to all the events of his life, the ones who hurt and frightened him, even the ones who seemed to go against the will of God.
Like Joseph’s brothers, we are very good and sometimes we are very bad. Either way, God does not leave. God is committed to us and to working through us, which is what God’s providence is all about.
Sometimes the work of God’s hand is so evident and sometimes we have to dust for fingerprints. Sometimes the guidance of God is so clear and sometimes we have to work hard to find God’s footprints. And sometimes the voice of God seems to come straight from heaven and sometimes it comes through the voices of strangers and friends.
We all may do terrible things to each other like brothers turned against brothers. Our fear and our greed may have been creating monsters out of us. God’s obligation is not to prevent these things from happening.
God’s responsibility is to stay present in them and to keep on being God, breathing life into piles of dust, revealing the divine presence on the piles of rocks, and making something good and fine out of total chaos in spite of us.
And our job is to want to hear the voice of God, to seek God’s providence, and to discover God’s fingerprints and footprints by looking at the things that had happened in our lives.
In this season of Epiphany, I invite you all to keep writing your own stories of epiphanies, encountering God at your certain place, weeping and dusting for God’s fingerprint in our lives, and following God’s footprints in order for us to grow Jesus-like.