I got to Elizabeth’s post Relinquishment, Reunification, and Joseph a bit late, but fortunately for me, I can just start a new post with my own thoughts!
Her initial question was regarding reflections upon the Biblical account of Joseph’s life as found in Genesis in the context of personal stories of adopted/donor conceived people. It’s interesting that she asks about that particular story because it was one of the stories that I looked to in order to clarify in my own mind my particular conception circumstance.
I have to give some background about how I view this story, if you’ll indulge me.
I grew up in a theologically weak church. There was a lot of moralizing of Scripture going on (you know, obey the rules because it’s right instead of truly understanding what the text says) and very little Bible preaching/teaching from the pulpit. Suffice it to say that I grew up with little to no knowledge of God or Scripture.
But I did believe that there was a God, and even as a young child, I had a theory that God was “in charge” of when a person died, therefore he must be “in charge” of every detail of a person’s life that leads up to the moment of death, otherwise they might miss their “appointment”.
So you might say that I was predisposed toward God’s soverignty over all things, even before I was formally introduced to such a concept.
I also believe that all of Scripture is meant to convey to the reader something about God Himself, even when He is not explicitly mentioned (as in the book of Ruth).
So with that said, Joseph’s life – and more importantly, God’s sovereignty in Joseph’s life – was a great comfort to me as I struggled with the revelation that the man who raised me was not my biological father.
The life that Joseph had lived prior to his brothers selling him to a caravan of Ishmaelites was probably fairly uneventful, except for the dreams that God had given him, which caused his brothers to hate him even more than they already did. The day that he was sold and taken to Egypt changed the course of his life.
What was Joseph’s response to his brothers years after that day? “I am your brother, Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:4-5, 8 ) And later on, he reiterated his thoughts, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” (Genesis 50:20)
My parents – all three of them – purposed to create a child who would be raised by one biological parent, and abandoned by the other.
With Joseph, I can say…
My parents created me this way, yet God created me this way.
My parents harmed me, though unintentionally. And yet God intended it for good.
I am also able to say that I forgive them for the hurt.
The comfort that those two facts have given me has been extraordinary. I don’t claim to fully comprehend why, but I don’t have to fully comprehend it to know that it’s true.