The door was shut. He had his final run-in with Dad and left the house determined never to look back. He would take control of his own life. The focus would be on completing his education, having a happy and healthful marriage and not allowing alcohol to destroy his family.
All was good until a couple of his dad’s traits started showing up in his home – Anger and addictive tendencies. It was time to look back and open the door emotionally to understand where that was coming from. Anger was present in the home he grew up in, particularly when discipline was applied. And alcoholism was present across several generations on his dad’s side of the family. Living in his own strength as an overcomer lasted well into adulthood. Realizing some degree of success in contrast to the homelife as a child reinforced the overcomer mentality. But as some point, a choice had to be made – to continue in his will to overcome the past or learn from the past, live into His will and obey His word.
You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people. Therefore, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children. – Genesis 50:20. Joseph had been sold into slavery years earlier by his brothers. Now, he was in position to get justice or save his whole family from drought in the land. If anyone had the right to close the door on his family because he was doing pretty darn good on his own, it would be Joseph. But he knew he was not doing anything on his own. Joseph was godly and God-directed. He had a sense of God’s presence in all circumstances, he embraced the feelings he experienced, he maintained God’s perspective in his life and by God’s grace, he was a blessing to his family and others.
In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero breaks Joseph’s example down in a way that can help a person navigate through their family experiences. With our sovereign God, we know the family prepares the next generation for life but sometimes it can be pretty well disguised. As was the case with Joseph. His points are: To maintain a sense of God’s loving hand through all pain & hardships; Secondly, admit to feelings of sadness and loss; Third, keep a perspective of experiences under the word of God; and finally, make a choice in relationship with God to be a blessing in all circumstances by His grace.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and for the family history You have blessed me with. It was not always pretty but looking back, I can see how You were at work in the midst of so many experiences. At the time, I did not have my eyes on You. Now, by Your grace, through Your loving hand and under Your word, I strive to keep all in perspective and represent You well in circumstances I face. Strengthen me to move forward in faith and family through an emotionally healthy relationship with You and in the marriage, You have blessed me with. Help me be the man, husband and father You call me to be and that the next generation needs to see. Amen.
A faithful father looks back in order to move forward in faith and family.