Summary: True healing in our relationships begins when, in reliance upon God, we recognize our own sin with a remorse that leads to full repentance.
Sometime ago, an ad appeared in a Kansas newspaper, which read: “We will oil your sewing machine and adjust the tension in your home for only $1. (Leadership, Fall 1986, p.46).
Wouldn’t that be nice, getting a quick fix for the tension in our homes or in any of our relationships? As we all know, there are no quick fixes, but the tension in our relationships CAN be adjusted.
It happened for Joseph. His brothers had sold him into slavery, because they were jealous of his privileged status in the family. They think they’re rid of him, but things turn out well for Joseph. He ends up the second most powerful man in Egypt, 2nd only to Pharaoh. The only thing missing in is life is his family back home, but God is about to bring them together in the fullest sense of that word. The tension is about to be adjusted for Joseph, and the tension in our relationships can be adjusted, as well.
The question is: How? How can broken relationships be repaired? How can fractured families be put back together? How can there be true reconciliation when a friendship has been severed?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 42, Genesis 42, where we see how God begins to do it for Joseph. We pick up the story back home with Joseph’s father and brothers.
Genesis 42:1-2 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.” (NIV)
They were in the middle of a severe drought.
Genesis 42:3-4 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. (NIV)
They may have been able to cover up their crime in selling Joseph into slavery; but under their father’s eye, rhey could not cover their character. He just didn’t trust them. This is a broken family that God is about to put together.
Genesis 42:5-6 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also. Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. (NIV)
His dreams are fulfilled! Joseph’s brothers are bowing down to him, just like he saw it in his dreams more than 13 years previous to this, but Joseph is still far away from his brothers. Oh, they’re there physically, but there is no connection between them at all.
Genesis 42:7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.” (NIV)
God has brought Joseph and his brothers together physically. Now, he is about to bring them together emotionally, as well, and God is using a severe drought and famine to do it. You see, when God wants to bring people together, He often uses adversity to do it.
A biologist was studying an ant that was carrying a piece of straw. It seemed such a big burden for the ant, but the ant struggled on with that burden. Then the ant came to a crack in the ground that was too wide for it to cross. It stopped for a while, as though pondering the situation, then placed the straw across the crack and walked on over.
That ant’s burden became a bridge, and that’s what God can do for us if we trust Him to do it. If we want our broken relationships to be restored, then we must…
RELY ON GOD TO TURN OUR BURDENS INTO BRIDGES.
We must trust the Lord to use adversity to bring us together. Please, whatever you do, don’t let your burden become a barrier that separates you from others. And don’t use adversity as an excuse to sever your relationships. Instead, trust God to turn your burden into a bridge to those who right now seem so far away.
For 11 years, Mary Leonard of Louisville, Kentucky, dealt with polymyositis, a rare inflammatory tissue disease that invades the muscles. There is no known cause or cure.
Mary’s case turned deadly when the disease invaded her heart. In fact, in March of 2010, Mary was told by doctors that she had 24-48 hours to live. But after 20 days in a hospice center, another 51 days in rehab, and a number of days at home, Mary was still alive. That experience caused her to reflect on the changes that take place when you learn your time is short.