So he put them all together in prison three days. Then Joseph said to them the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God: If you are honest men,let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house; but you, go and carry grain for the famine of your houses. And bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so. (Genesis 42:17-22)
Oh the DRAMA! This is a well-used saying in my house. Let’s just say that fifth grade girls + hormones = DRAMA. My daughter has a flair for the dramatic. (I had to pay her $5 to use this picture. Drama!) I think we all know somebody like that. Somebody who reacts to a hangnail like we would react to, let’s say, a broken arm. Like at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where the family gets to see the house for the first time. Some families have a reaction, but other families have a REEAAACCCCTIONNNNNN! My girlie would probably have the REEAAACCCCTIONNNNNN.
Joseph really had a flair for the dramatic. He cried so loud the whole palace heard him at one point. (That had to be LOUD because last time I checked, palaces were HUGE!) Drama. He accused his brothers of being spies and put them in prison for three days. Three days. THREE DAYS! He only released them because he feared God, and then he threatened their lives TWICE! Can anyone say DRAMA? We talk a lot about his tears and how overjoyed he was at the end, but we don’t really look at the drama…the raw emotion he must have felt when he saw them. He threw them in prison for three days…I bet that felt good! Just a little taste of what he went through…
What do we see here? We see that Joseph was human. Joseph had to work through his emotions. Had he forgiven them? I believe he did. Did he have God’s perspective that it was His plan all along? Sure he did. Did he still have some drama and an intense emotional reaction when he saw them? Absolutely! Drama, drama, drama! It’s natural.
Emotions are not bad. They are not evil. They are God-given. He made us emotional creatures. (Sorry guys! It’s all God’s fault we are emotional. Go ahead and blame Him!) God even has emotions. He loves. He laughs. He can be grieved. He sings songs over us with joy. Emotions are not bad. They are like the nerves of your soul. Your nerves go into overdrive when you touch something hot to tell you, “Pull away! That will hurt you!” Emotions tell you when something is hurting you so you can deal with it. Joseph had to work through his emotions so he could walk in that place of forgiveness. It’s called healing.
We all have emotions, but sometimes we don’t know what to do with them. It is not good to just stuff them away or ignore them. We don’t just ignore pain in our bodies. We isolate it and try to figure out what is wrong so we can fix it. It’s unhealthy to ignore emotions. We need to do something with them. I bet in the three days the boys were in prison, Joseph was having some intense conversations with God, and that was how he could get control of his emotions so he could release them from prison, walk in forgiveness, and actually feel tears of joy.
There might be someone you need to “release from prison.” Did they hurt you? Absolutely. Do you need to let them completely back into our lives? Not necessarily. (You can have forgiveness without restoration. Trust has to be restored, but that is a whole other post!) Forgiveness doesn’t absolve them of guilt, it releases their hold on your emotions and puts you back in control. You can take control of the drama, of those intense emotions, and steer it in the right direction. Take all of that to God and let Him heal you. That is when you can truly walk away from the drama and live in the peace He promised.
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. I Peter 5:7 AMP