My step-brother Richard (Rick) Morgan died in a car accident on August 6, 2017, at the age of 35. I wrote last week about how I almost missed the funeral, because I had shown up to the wrong airport for my flight. It was definitely God’s grace and mercy that got me back to Indianapolis, especially since I wasn’t sure I would even go to the funeral when I first heard the news. You may be wondering how I could not attend such an event. It was the death of a loved one, after all. But when describing my family situation, all I can say is #It’sComplicated.
My family had its share of problems when I was growing up, and because of that I was estranged from most of them. For the last 20 years I let the bitterness of my childhood trickle into all of my family relationships. I hesitated going back for the funeral, because I wasn’t sure how I would feel or how I would be received after all this time.
When I look closely at the story of Joseph, I see a family that had its share of dysfunction. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and made their father believe he had been killed by animals because they were jealous of him. Joseph was enslaved because of what his brothers did, but God was with him. He eventually becomes Pharaoh’s second in command of Egypt. Joseph was separated from his family for 20 years, but God orchestrated an event that brings his family together. There was a severe famine and Joseph’s brothers had no choice but to travel to Egypt for food, where Joseph was in charge of the rations. This is where their reunion happened. (Full story in Genesis 37-50)
“And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.” Genesis 45:15
The brothers did not recognize Joseph, but Joseph recognized his brothers and revealed himself to them. You would think that this meeting would be awkward at best, but Genesis 45:15 reveals how God can immediately restore relationships. Joseph understood God’s providence and recognized that his brothers’ offense was part of God’s master plan. (45:5-8) This mindset is what allowed Joseph to kiss his family and talk to them as if the pain of the past never existed.
This is the type of homecoming I experienced, when my family was brought together by my step-brother’s death. We celebrated Rick’s life and the fact that he is now in heaven. We talked, ate, laughed, and hugged because the past no longer mattered. This is what God can do with relationships. He can turn “It’s Complicated” into “In a Relationship”.