The selling of Joseph into slavery by his hateful brothers implied three things which include forceful separation from his loved ones, rejection, and being forsaken. He was forcefully separated from his loved ones and taken to a totally strange land from a place he once called home, the environment he was accustomed to and disconnected from all the people he had known, loved and had known as family all his life especially his beloved father and Benjamin his little brother, Genesis 43:30. The dastardly act of being sold into slavery by his brothers was purely that of total rejection of his person; they did not want him among them at all. There was every probability that he looked back at his brothers with teary eyes as he was being led away in chains by the Ishmaelites that bought him pleading for mercy and a change of hearts towards him, however, his brothers were adamant and unremorseful, they were happy as he was being led away like a sheep to the slaughter. They did not care whatever ill betide him, Genesis 37:28. The sole aim of their evil act of killing the kid of a goat, dipping Joseph’s coat of many colors into the blood and showing it to their father by lying to him that he had been devoured by an evil beast was so that their father would not make any attempt to look for him. They achieved their intention because their father believed them, Genesis 37:31-35. If their father had known the truth that Joseph wasn’t dead but sold into slavery, he would have done everything within his power to seek for Joseph and bring him back home because of his great love for him. Since he did not know the truth, he did not seek him. So Joseph was neglected and forsaken in a strange land.
EVIL EFFECTS OF SEPARATION, REJECTION AND BEING FORGOTTEN
Separation, rejection and being forgotten by loved ones for any reason at all usually has devastating effects on one because they all cause loneliness – a heartbreaking feeling that one is all alone to one’s self, not wanted, and that no one cares. This could result in serious challenges of sadness, anger and violent behaviors, anxiety, withdrawal, self-pity, ill health, hopelessness, despair, depression, and suicidal thoughts. It can be overwhelming, consuming, and devastating especially to young people if not properly handled.
Surprisingly, although the young Joseph had been forcefully separated from his family members, rejected, neglected, and forgotten for years by his family members, nothing about him revealed he suffered loneliness or the challenges associated with it. He accepted his fate and he coped. He adjusted very fast and well to the unpalatable situation he found himself in; the new environment, people of different traditions and culture, religion, and language. He made himself feel at home in Potiphar’s household and carried his duty out so faithfully and with all diligence that he found grace with Potiphar who made him the overseer of his household, Genesis 39:1-6. Afterward, when he was sent to prison due to false allegation by Potiphar’s wife, he adjusted and was made the overseer of the prisoners, Genesis 39:20-23. For over twenty-two years he lived in Egypt without hearing any news or setting his eyes on any member of his family and he coped well. How did he manage to do this?
OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF LONELINESS
Four major things helped him to cope:
The first being a personal thriving relationship with the living God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob his father. This implied he maintained his devotion/worship with God without allowing anything to stand between him and his God, He spent time communicating and seeking the face of God with his whole heart, soul, and body. Secondly, he maintained a positive mindset that God was with him in all his travails; this implied he lived in the conscious awareness of God’s invisible presence with him always, therefore, he knew he wasn’t alone. God was truly with him as noted by Potiphar and the prison keeper, Genesis 39:3, 21.
Apart from this, Joseph had a perfect understanding of his God-given dreams that he saw God in everything that happened as allowed by God and for a reason and that God would see him through and that He is in control, Genesis 41: 51-51; 45:5-7.
The last but not the least was that Joseph was an independent individual. By this it means he had his own mind, made his own choices, did his own things, and lived his life with little or no influence or assistance from anybody but as led by the Holy Spirit of God. He relied and depended only on God. Depend only on God and less on people. It is when one depends on certain individuals that being separated, rejected, deserted, and forsaken by them becomes really difficult and unbearable.
To dare to be like Joseph is to know that separation, rejection, being forsaken are inevitable and their occurrence is not the end of life. You can be separated from your loved ones unexpectedly or by agreement. Separation is part of life and it started at birth where each of us got separated from the placenta that was part and parcel of us while in our mother’s womb and the cutting of the umbilical cord that connects us to our mother’s own and continues for life. Know that it is not possible to stay together with members of our families, classmates, and friends for life because separation would happen at one time or the other. Therefore we must prepare ourselves for it. There is a need for some people to leave our lives by whatever means ordained for new ones to come in. It is therefore important to cherish your loved ones when you have them around you. Whatever happens, life continues. We have to find new friends and build new relationships.
Also, note that anyone can face rejection, neglect, be forsaken/ forgotten by loved ones, family and friends and at any time too for reasons best known by then. However, we must note that not all those who have rejected, neglected, or forsaken/forgotten us did so intentionally/deliberately but due to circumstances beyond their understanding and control as in the case of Joseph’s father who was deceived to believe that Joseph was devoured by an evil beast. God allowed some of them to leave for our good. Whatever happens, life continues so there is a need for one to accept and brace up oneself to adjust to what life dishes to one.
It is also important that one learns to be independent. This implies one must learn to survive on one’s own and be less dependent on parents and other family members.
More than anything, it is very important that one has a thriving personal relationship with Jesus Christ without which no one can overcome loneliness and its challenges. Jesus is our strength and companion when we feel or are alone. It is important to take your relationship with God with all seriousness and grow in your knowledge of Him as Joseph did to enjoy God the way Joseph did.
As a child of God, you may be forcefully separated from your loved ones but no power can separate you from God. Nothing can separate you from Him, Romans 8:35-39. He is with you everywhere and cares so much about you, Isaiah 43:1-3; Matthew 28:20. All you have to do is to live in the awareness of His invisible presence with you always. God is with you always so you are not alone.
You may be rejected, neglected, and abandoned by men, but never by God. He will never forget or forsake you, Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 49:15. He never casts any of His own away, John 6:37. You are before Him always, Psalm 139: 2-12. His eyes are watching over you always, 2 Chronicles 16:9; He is thinking of you always, Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 139:17-18.
Are you passing through painful separation, rejection, or being forsaken? You are not alone, Jesus is with you and He will strengthen you and take good care of you. Just put all your trust in Him
If you have not yet embraced God’s gracious salvation through Jesus Christ, please come to Him now by taking the steps written below;
- Admit you are a sinner, Romans 3:23; 6:23.
- Repent of all sins, Acts 3:19, 1 John 1:9
- Believe that God loves you and that Jesus His only Son died for you, Romans 5:8. Acts 10: 40 & 43.
- Invite Jesus into your heart, Revelations 3:20
GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I