RE-GROUPING FOR THE NEXT PHASE
And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Genesis 43:27-30
Joseph had it all planned out. He would test his brothers, temporarily incarcerate Simeon, send them back to Canaan and then return to Egypt with Benjamin, and all the while, none of his family would know who he was. The next phase would be more personal, more difficult to play out without disclosing his own identity. How would he serve them a meal, see Benjamin, and then talk of their father without his heart giving way? Years of pent up grief and homesickness were bubbling at the surface, begging escape. The only recourse when weeping was close to exploding was to excuse himself to re-group in private. He kept them waiting while he wept in the next room.
Knowing when to re-group can be tricky. When emotions are strong, whether grief, anger, or frustration, it’s hard to reign them in for a better time. I don’t believe I have the restraint to keep overwhelming feelings in check instead of express them.
The brothers did need to see Joseph’s tears. Benjamin did need to hear the lament of his older brother for all the lost years they had experienced. Whether or not Joseph should share his heart was not the question. It was when he should do it.
Navigating relationships where there has been much hurt is so very complicated. Often, I need to reign in everything I want to say until considerable time has passed. Trust may have been broken. Immaturity may exist and there is no foundation for honest sharing. Remorse may be missing and any tears will be wasted. There are many reasons for regrouping in private but finding the strength to do it is difficult. I must restrain my emotions in one setting so that in my private space, I can let it all go. I am not alone there. God is with me. Until there is safety with those who have hurt me, I can pour out my heart to the only One who can receive everything I long to say. For any of you who realize at this very moment that the emotional exchange you’ve been rehearsing is ill-timed, know that I am praying for you today.
Lord, pour out the grace my friend needs right now to step back and be still. Woo them to come to You instead and assure them that you will receive them just as they are. Amen