On this Monday of the Third Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
Today’s reading focuses on the story of Joseph, Jacob’s son, and God’s faithfulness throughout Joseph’s struggles. This is the perfect opportunity for a shout-out to my nieces in their recent production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I wish I could have made it to the performance!
“When it rains, it pours.”
“Bad things happen in threes.”
Just a couple of adages that make the point that when a situation goes sour, it tends to do so in a cascading fashion.
Joseph experienced this phenomenon. He was the favored son of a powerful man. But then things went south in a hurry. His jealous brothers stripped him—of the beautiful garment his father bought especially for him!—and threw him in a cistern. Then they sold Joseph into slavery. To make matters worse, when his situation appeared to improve he was falsely accused of attempted rape by his master’s wife and thrown into prison!
But God did not leave Joseph in prison. He had blessed Joseph with the gift of interpreting dreams, which Joseph used faithfully, recognizing God as the source of his gift. And because Joseph was faithful with his talents, God blessed him as Pharoah’s right hand man.
Along with the ability to interpret dreams, one of Joseph’s greatest talents was his ability to recognize his blessings throughout his hardships—those blessings he currently enjoyed and those he knew God was yet to provide.
A friend of mine once explained the Jewish song Dayenu, which is sung to celebrate Passover. I think this song well reflects the attitude of gratitude that helps survive difficulties in life.
If He had brought us out from Egypt,
and had not carried out judgments against them
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed!
Instead of grieving a perceived slight—“if only God would have . . . “—it focuses on the abundance of blessings God pours out. “If you had stopped short of the wonderful blessings you’ve given me, Lord, that would have been enough!”
But for me it does more than that—it also reminds me that God has proven, day after day after day, that He can deliver me from my difficulties and that He does, often in wonderful ways!
The Passover song lists fifteen gifts God gave His people in delivering them from Egypt. What countless blessings has God given me that I should recognize in a similar way? I think the ultimate stanza might be: “If You had only given me Your only begotten Son who suffered, died and rose again for my sins, Dayenu!” All else means nothing.