Forgiveness and Restoration

(Excerpt from my new book – Hidden by the Brook. Pre-orders now available @ jksanchez.com)

The famine had been great in Egypt and even harder on those far out into the desert areas. The small group of dirty, tired and hungry men stood before the only man that could help provide food for them and their families. They had made the long journey, hoping for help to survive; now bowing with respect before this unknown man. 

He was unrecognizable to them, but Joseph knew who bowed before him: the very brothers who had betrayed him and sold him into slavery twenty-two years ago. The emotions stirred within him – how was he to respond? With wisdom, he questioned them, finding out that his father and youngest brother were still alive and well. He tested them, detained them and gave them a way to prove themselves men of changed integrity. And then provided the much-needed grain at no cost. 

His heart was overwhelmed with forgiveness as he overheard their discussions of regret and anguish over what they had done to their brother, still not aware of who it was that stood before them.

Joseph sent them home, and for several months, one brother remained in custody waiting for his brothers to return with their youngest brother for the exchange. As Joseph awaited their return, God continued a work of forgiveness in his heart. 

The return with Benjamin, his youngest brother, brought great joy to Joseph, but he devised one more test. However, the emotional response and petition of mercy from his brothers gave way to a flood of forgiveness within him, and he revealed who he was. A heavy silence settled over the room as great fear and anguish swirled in each brothers’ thoughts. But Joseph had already broken off the chains of betrayal that had haunted him for years and had chosen to forgive them. 

He compassionately announced, “Do not be distressed because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). The forgiveness and restoration between Joseph and his family allowed for years of abundant provision. 

The planned purpose of the hand of God’s preparation on a broken, prideful, betrayed young man prevailed. A young man who had submitted himself before God and in faith trusted as he waited for God’s answer. The very survival of multitudes of people, including the Hebrew nation, was accomplished through a life hidden in obscurity – a man hidden in order to preserve life.   

As our life stretches before us, we are oblivious of what it will hold. The wonderful surprises send us to the heights of joy, while the devastating losses find us lower than we ever think we can recover from – yet there is God, always there in the midst. We walk in joy and tears – a seemingly diametrically-opposed paradigm – yet in that space between, we find, grow and learn how to live a life of abundance.

The keys to this life of abundance are found in the process. They are found in the dark hidden places. The places where tears flow, where anger and frustration rage, where the despair of hopelessness overtakes us. But it is right there where we find the refuge, our only place to run – into the arms of Jesus. In the process we find His love and forgiveness. That key – the love and forgiveness of Jesus – will release us from prison. It will allow us to walk into a new life – a promised eternal life. The process still must have its way within us, but now we can say, “Yes, Lord.” Submitting under His loving hand will allow us to find another crucial key: forgiveness. This time forgiveness of others. 

Joseph had no idea what God’s plan for his life was on that day he found himself at the bottom of a dusty well. Betrayal after betrayal and pain, hurt and prison didn’t deter his knowledge of who he served. His God’s steadfast love was the refuge that lifted and molded him into the man that would be the best one for God’s assignment. You stand in the same place: God’s plan and assignment for your life is before you, – your choice is to trust Him in the process.

Joseph was able to declare, “God sent me to preserve life.” That is an eternal mandate for each of us as we serve our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. Getting to our ultimate, completed assignment takes a lifetime of choices. 

Those choices are to walk in a life full of continual love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility and patience, along with many other attributes that He will knead into your heart, soul and mind. This kneading will always take place when you are quiet, separated, isolated – hidden in places where He can meet with you undistracted. 

During these times He will transform you into the individual that He desires to use – leading you to His assignment, the very one that only you can perform.

Col. 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (ESV)

Three – Two – One – BLASTOFF!

All in all, building a rocket takes many, many, many more months then a baby. So, with great excitement my rocket is launched out into the world. Though the building of and launching of my rocket, may appear to be no more than another book in the midst of millions, it goes forth into the world carrying my heart; the heart of a new mother for her baby, believing for its impact on the lives of others.

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Reading has been a passion in my life from as early as I can remember. In my life-time I have spent hours walking, browsing, and touching books as I have perused many libraries and bookstores. Finding me with a book in my hands, buried in a corner somewhere as I travel off to a faraway place with imaginary friends has become a normal expected part of me.

Books themselves fascinate and draw me. They hold so much life between each cover. From colored picture and story books to technical books; we depend on them. However, like most things we depend on, we take them for granted. 

As I have embarked on writing and publishing I have found an even greater appreciation of the physical book as well as the authors who have poured out their heart to bring them to life. I have often heard the analogy of a book being like giving birth – and it did make sense to me – until now. Having had three wonderful children each of them required only 9 months to bring to birth. I now believe a better analogy is like the launching of a rocket, which often requires years.

The idea, thoughts, and dream of creating this rocket – our book – begins months or years before one single sentence is composed. Then the drawings, technical research, and engineering step in with many more months. Finally, the writing begins – the actual process of accumulating all the needed physical parts of your rocket – many more months.

Then one exciting morning comes when the construction phase begins and you start to see pages upon pages linking together creating something real, right before your eyes. In your mind you think “this is it” but there are still more weeks and months of intense research, writing and detail adjustments. But, slowly your rocket begins to materialize.

Eventually the cover, title and content look as if they are getting close; now comes testing its flight readiness. Oh no, it is nowhere near ready. Detail, detail, and more detail – proofing and editing that takes way more time than ever was imagined. You can’t believe how many errors seem to pop up every time you read and re-read what has already been read by five others. Each nut and bolt must flow together in this rocket; thus, continual adjustments are made.  

Then just as it looks like you’re close to launch, you realize that no one knows anything about your rocket. If no one knows, then no one will get to watch and be part of the launch of this spectacular rocket – now what? One more phase begins of many more months – marketing – letting everyone know what is coming.

Time rolls on and it is time to do the final pre-launch testing – heading to the publisher – it’s ready “this should be quick” runs through your thoughts. Haha, one more thing to learn – if you think you are ready, you probably really aren’t. The next process begins of finding more details, small and large that are definitely a surprise, while another month slips by as fixes are made and adjusted.

Finally, one morning a shiny truck arrives to open up the hanger your rocket has been stored in. The box carrying your completed book arrives and with anticipation you touch and hold it; the launch is ready to be made.

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All in all, building a rocket takes many, many, many more months then a baby. So, with great excitement my rocket is launched out into the world. Though the building of and launching of my rocket, may appear to be no more than another book in the midst of millions, it goes forth into the world carrying my heart; the heart of a new mother for her baby, believing for its impact on the lives of others.

I hope you are able to watch and be part of the launch of my new rocket!