“What if” are two words I battle to get out of my mind. “What if” something bad happens to one of my kids? “What if” things never get better in this relationship? “What if” my husband loses his job?
I wonder if Joseph’s brothers in the Old Testament struggled with their own “what if” questions. On their second trip to Egypt to buy grain the man in charge invited them over for dinner. Can you imagine their fear escalating as they waited for him in his home? Perhaps they thought, What if he won’t give us food? What if he kills us all? After all, this ruler had been harsh to them last time, even accusing them as spies. No wonder they were reluctant to return.
I can relate. There have been times when I have been tempted to think I have reached the point of no return in relationships, believing that too much time has passed to reconnect or reconcile.
Have you ever thought that it was too late to reconcile a relationship?
There is no statute of limitations on reconciliation. Reconciliation itself takes time, and it is never too late to make it right. It may seem impossible, but we know that nothing is impossible with our God.
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
For Joseph’s brothers, the meal got off to a great start. They feasted and talked thinking good things were ahead. Though good things are happening circumstantially for the brothers, there is still a missing piece—authenticity. While they eat and celebrate together, there is a big elephant in the room that hasn’t been addressed. Not only is Joseph’s identity still hidden, but also the brothers have not repented. Repentance must precede reconciliation. Let’s consider two important cautions we learn from this scene:
- First, we must be careful not to measure success in relationships by a lack of conflict or difficulty.
- Second, we must not confuse counterfeit happiness with the lasting joy of reconciliation.
Once we move beyond our paralyzing grief and board the ride toward reconciliation, we find ourselves enjoying the climb. Still we must not let the roller coaster ride of reconciliation end superficially. God calls us to go deep in working toward authenticity in reconciling relationships.
What if we are able to renew relationships we thought were lost forever through authenticity, clear communication and repentance? What steps might God be asking you to take to get beyond surface conversations to go deeper in one of your relationships?