Worried about the future of our world and the youth of today? I am. And that makes me sad because I’d love to say, “Of course, I’m not worried! I’m totally confident in our world and our youth! Everything’s gonna be just fine.” But that would be a lie. I do worry. In fact, I worry too much. God knows this about me so I might as well say it. There are days when I’m so worried I don’t function well. God knows this too and He knows how to deal with me. I’m so thankful for that. He is my Father after all.
Uvalde Texas Robb Elementary School 19 children and 2 teachers dead. Murdered by an 18-year-old kid. Buffalo New York Supermarket 10 dead. Murdered by an 18-year-old kid. What do we really know about these two kids? And not what we hear on television or radio or read on the Internet. What do we know? What about their family life? Where are their fathers? I can’t find a lot of info about the fathers of these kids. The Texas shooter almost none. The Buffalo shooter a little more. Now, why would I ask that question about the fathers? My mind always looks to the family. The mom and the dad. Where does an 18-year-old absorb within his body that kind of hate? Where does it come from?
When we look at the family unit in today’s world we see fractures, we see brokenness, and we see total collapse. The fracture allows the hate to seep in which causes the brokenness. Families that become broken collapse under the weight of hate.
Is there a place where magic happens all the time? I’m thinkin’ yes. Pick up any book of fairytales and you’ll find all magic all the time. It’s where the good comes out, right? Simply put, it’s magical. When you’re submerged in a fairytale, you smile constantly. Laugh out loud even. You might be wondering how happiness happens all the time or why everything seems so clean. It’s due to the people working behind the scenes picking up the trash—making things beautiful. What people you ask? The author, the characters, the illustrators. They all work together to make the fairytale worry-free. I haven’t forgotten that there’s also some evil in fairytales. But the evil never wins…ever. Kinda like what God does for me when I get bogged down in worry. He makes things beautiful. He crushes evil. He washes away the hate that can creep in.
Magic happened in Joseph’s life. God was behind the scenes picking up the trash—turning tragedy into magic. At the beginning of the story, Joseph didn’t understand the significance of his two dreams. Remember the ones about how they were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when Joseph’s sheaf rose and upright while his brother’s sheaves gathered around his and bowed down to it. Then the second one was when the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him. Yeah, well, it didn’t go over very well. But God had a plan.
After that, bad things happened to Joseph between the ages of 17-30. Behind the scenes, things were happening that would ultimately raise Joseph into power. People begged Joseph for food by bowing down to him because he was second in command. Then ten of his eleven brothers showed up to ask Joseph to forgive them. Yep, the ones who tried to kill him. The ones who hated him.
Now some might think, and rightfully so, that Joseph just might be the revengeful sort. I mean, let’s face it, he had every right. He’d lost years of his life. His brothers hated him. And not just a little. They hated him with every fiber of their being. Now was the perfect time to get even. But Joseph saw it differently. He saw his little brother, Benjamin and he revealed himself. They were all terrified. Joseph tells them that God has been behind the scenes to make it all work for the best. He wants an end to the dysfunction of his family. He wants an end to the hate. So you see hate has been around a long time. The story of Joseph takes place in Genesis—the very first book of the Bible.
You know, looking back over this family you realize that Jacob was such a loser. Not a very good father. Jacob, in his earlier years, deceived his father, Isaac, to obtain his blessing meant for Esau. Joseph, on the other hand, sees beyond his father’s flaws and offers his forgiveness. He looks beyond the hate his brothers had for him. God took their evil and turned it into good. Joseph realizes this when his brothers are there and when he reunites with Jacob.
Might I just state for the record, unlike Joseph, forgiveness has never been one of my strongest qualities. I find I must work at it constantly. People who have this gift are my heroes. God keeps his finger on my heart though and nudges me along to a more forgiving place. I’m sure when Joseph pardoned his brothers, they were shocked. So I’m thinking if Joseph could pardon those who’d done such despicable things to him, why then shouldn’t I be more willing to do the same.
Fathers play such an important role in our lives. My daddy taught me many things. He was present in my life. Sometimes more than I’d like because it meant I didn’t get away with much. My daddy was like the coat of many colors that Joseph wore. He had many sides to him that made him so very special. During his life, he was a semi-pro baseball player, a drill sergeant in the Army, a school teacher, a restaurant owner, and an amazingly gifted chef. Above all those things he was my daddy. He had a most unconventional way of teaching me the things he thought I needed to know. Military through and through, believing things were either right or they were wrong. No gray area whatsoever. He told me to always put God first. To be a loyal friend. To stand up for what I believed. To tell the truth regardless of the consequences. To be fair and honest when dealing with others. To honor those older than me or those in authority. To work hard all the days of my life because nothing good comes to those who don’t work. He was the strongest man I’ve ever known. He could cook like nobody’s business. When he loved, he loved with his whole heart but found it so very difficult to show. Nevertheless, I always knew he’d give his life for me. I never doubted his love for me was unconditional. He was always there for me throughout my life until his ended.
When I come to the end of a problem I can look back and I see the exact places where God worked behind the scenes picking up the trash and making things beautiful again. How has God been behind the scenes in your life picking up the trash so the magic could happen—so things could be beautiful again? Do you find yourself more like Joseph—full of forgiveness or do you find yourself more like those who can’t forgive and who fill their hearts with hate? In the end, forgiveness is so much more powerful than hate.
On this Father’s Day, my wish would be that fathers be present in the lives of their children. That they make themselves a nuisance—although a good nuisance. That they are the example their children can look up to and strive to be like. More importantly that as their father you love them with all you have in your being with an unconditional love, not unlike the love our Father in heaven has for us all.
Happy Father’s Day
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!