Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Emotional JOY in the OT!

Reading time: two minutes. If you charted the emotional history timeline of your family, what kind of a roller coaster would it depict?  Would you see the normal ups and downs of family life, the joys of blessings and the sadness of loss?  Or would you see more sudden and dramatic sharp declines of painful hurt and abuse? Jacob’s family experienced the more dramatic and dizzying roller coaster ride that comes from more significant sinful behavior toward one another.  The story of Joseph and his brothers is an example of the kinds of physical, verbal and emotional abuse that destroys families and the family’s individual members. It’s pretty similar to a heartbreaking story of a baseball player I’ve been reading about lately.  As you may know, St Louis is a beer town with a baseball problem.  I like to read a baseball related book each spring and this year I’m reading Rick Ankiel’s autobiography, “The Phenomenon.”  A victim of abuse by his father, he found escape and success at the end of his left arm: a once in a generation curveball and a wicked fastball to go with it. Only 21 years old and pitching in the National League playoffs, everything unraveled when his emotional past reared its ugly head.  He threw five pitches to the backstop in one game and was soon out of baseball entirely.  He made a comeback as an outfielder years later, but is still plagued by the emotions of his past. Joseph and his brothers rode the roller coaster of their past sins against each other for an entire generation.  Their story is one of prideful bravado, slander, abuse, lies, deception, anger, greed and more.  When strangely reunited years later, Joseph and his brothers were still hounded by the past, riding the wild roller coaster of the guilt of past actions mixed together with the bond of a shared love for their father. Could their broken relationships ever be restored?  As you know, there is only one Hero in the Bible, and it was the grace of God, mutually shared with one another, that brought emotional healing to Jacob’s family. The picture of familial restoration we find in the book of Genesis prefigures the blessing all of  our families receive each week when we humbly gather at the foot of the cross of Jesus.  The words of absolution are the cure for every brokenness in our homes.  What a pleasure it is to re-enact the joy that Joseph and his brothers shared when we, husbands and wives, children and parents, are forgiven and reunited by the grace of our Savior, Jesus. Has your family been riding the roller coaster lately?  Confess your sins to one another (“I was wrong when…”) and give one another the blessing of forgiveness. And then enjoy this wild ride of family life with Jesus alongside. Thanks for reading. Subscribe to Blog A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.