Do you consider the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 your family? If not, why not? They are your faith family and represent the genealogy of your hopes and trust in God. They heard God's promises and acted on them as if they were already true! But. What we have on our side that they don’t…watching the fulfillment of prophecy over history. Time confirms what God is doing. Proves it to the natural world (Romans 8:19), and confirms it in our hearts. This, therefore, strengthens our resolve and faith to stand firm and take up our place in history. Take up our place on the “wall”, and fight back darkness until the Son of Man returns.
So let's talk a bit about family trauma. As we study Jacob and Joseph's life in our Bible study, can you possibly imagine the trauma of the experiences of this family? They are two-fold: the system of the time and how life was lived then, and how their behavior affected one another. Joseph was seriously damaged goods after the experience with his brothers. And the next part of his story becomes prison? What the hell? I know we all wrap this story up with a bow and talk about how he ended up ruling and saving Egypt from the famine, but what about the in-between?
Those bows we wrap up these stories with can be wonderful and encourage our faith walk. But ignoring the human experience of these family members of ours does us no good! Do you know why it is helpful and traditional in AA to say your name and identify yourself as an alcoholic? Because it tells everyone in the room they are not alone in their struggle! You then share stories of struggle, poor decisions, relational consequences of your behavior, and shame you’ve felt. Can you imagine if pastors through history taught about epigenetics and how the struggle of those who’ve come before us affects us? Can you wrap your head around the compassion we would have for those suffering and struggling?
So grace to you and for you in your struggle as a human. I know hundreds of years between you and this family removes some of the struggles. And when we hear of their faith that is great. But, please don't forget...they struggled greatly for that faith. As you are likely doing as well. So go easy on yourself.