August 4, 2000
volume 11, no. 130


Sister Lucy's GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER column for August 4, 2000


        I just reread in the Book of Genesis (beginning with Chapter 37) the story of Joseph. Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. He was second to the youngest, favored by his father, was handsome, bright and had the gift of interpreting dreams.

        At the age of seventeen, Joseph had a dream that one day all of his family would bow down to him. This, along with the existing envy that Joseph was favored by their father, fueled the hatred that deepened daily in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers.

        Hatred and envy work havoc in human hearts, making evil appear to be good and driving people to despotic deeds. Thus, one day, when Jacob had sent Joseph to check on the health of his brothers and livestock,Joseph’s brothers, seeing him coming from afar, yielded to hatred and devised a plan to get rid of Joseph. (Hearts full of hatred and envy are uncomfortable in the presence of virtue.)

        Initially, they wanted to kill Joseph, but the eldest brother, Reuben, whose conscience was still sensitive, talked his brothers into throwing Joseph into a dry cistern instead. (Reuben planned to return and retrieve Joseph later.)

        Joseph’s life was therefore spared, but about to undergo some dramatic changes. Looking up, the brothers saw a caravan of Ishmaelites bringing goods to Egypt and decided to sell Joseph to them for twenty pieces of silver. (It’s interesting how money can make siblings betray their own blood!)

        Therefore, Joseph was taken to Egypt, where because of his administrative abilities came to be in charge of Pharaoh’s chief steward’s household. Joseph’s troubles continued, however. He was falsely accused and thrown into prison for several years. Eventually, he was released because he aptly interpreted a couple of the Pharaoh’s dreams and thereby gained his respect and trust. Joseph was given the highest position possible in Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.

        Joseph organized a great storage of grain preparing for a great famine, known to come by Pharaoh’s dream. The famine pervaded the then known world including Canaan when Joseph’s family lived.

        Forced to seek food, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt. They did not recognize Joseph, who recognized them immediately. After a series of planned events, Joseph, tearfully, told his brothers who he was and directed them to bring his father, Jacob, and all of his relatives to Egypt, where he would give them the best pick of the land.

        Revenge and hatred did not occupy Joseph’s heart. As a matter of fact, God’s Hand had been touching every aspect of Joseph’s life. Although, God cannot will any evil (He permits it), He did bring good out of the bad things that happened to Joseph.

        We must learn from this that absolutely everything that happens to us plays a part in God’s plan for our lives. We do not see the whole picture in this life, but God is in control. NOTHING HAPPENS BY ACCIDENT. ALL IS WITHIN THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

        The backside of a tapestry is not very pretty. It is full of broken strings and the picture is unclear. That is how our life on earth appears. We don’t see the real picture clearly. But God is weaving that tapestry, and one day, in Heaven, He will show us the beautiful work of art He had been weaving with our lives.

        Be of good heart! Pray that through your obedience to God's Will, your life will weave a beautiful tapestry that will be most pleasing to God.

        ...Because God loves you and blesses you!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

August 4, 2000
volume 11, no. 130

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