I’m blessed by God because He brought you into this world today. You are God’s treasured blessing that we (both your mother and I) cherish. I’m writing this letter to you, in hope that you will read it on your 18th birthday. This letter may seem strange at first but I’m hoping you will understand its reason once you finish reading.
Today, I held you for the very first time. I’m still unable to process the joy I have in my heart. I feel so overwhelmed about becoming a father. You are the reason for our celebration, which reminds me of God joyfully looking at us, while holding us as His little children.
Son, He has been so good to me. The list of blessings are endless. There is so much I want to share with you. I’m writing this mainly for you to remember God’s faithfulness; and not be oblivious of our past. I think it’s important to stay in touch with our roots, helps us to remind ourselves of who we are.
So here’s my story. I wasn’t born here in Egypt. I was raised in a place called Canaan. This is our Promised Land, promised by God to our forefather, Abraham. I lacked no good thing and everything was going so fine. But then my life changed. While it was happening, it seemed like I was going downhill and that everything that was happening was somehow my fault, but eventually I realized that this temporal phase was for better things to unfold.
Back home, I was taking care of my father’s flocks with my brothers. I was very close to my father and would tell him everything. Being my father’s favorite got me into my brothers’ bad books. They would speak to me rudely and always kept me away from their usual company. To make matters worse, God showed me a dream where my entire family was bowing down to me. In my innocence and excitement, I shared it with my family. I was so naive to think that my family would share my excitement. My brothers got furious at the very thought of submitting to me that it drove them crazy. In their hatred and anger they decided to teach me a lesson.
The day finally came when they found an opportunity to get back at me. My dad had sent me to the fields to look for them. I found them at a place afar instead of their usual spot. When they saw me walking towards them, they were conjuring among themselves to kill me, but my older brother Reuben was not completely convinced (Thank YOU God!). He suggested that I be thrown in a well to eventually die alone of hunger. But he had thought of coming back later and rescuing me.
But Reuben’s plan foiled, as my brothers sat down for lunch, they saw a caravan of Midianite merchants who happen to pass by. In Reuben’s absence, they sold me as a slave for merely twenty pieces of silver. At that time, it did hurt me seeing that my worth in their eyes was just twenty pieces of silver. Yes, that’s how much they valued me. It was so hard to accept reality. Sometimes harder dealing with the hurt of being left alone. I had nothing left to lose or gain. My life was not mine anymore and I had no control over anything that was happening to me.
And that’s how I was brought to Egypt, as a slave. I was only 17, struggling through the days with no one by my side. Oh, how I longed to be back home! I missed my father’s embrace. Being treated like a slave reminded me of all that I was missing at home, minus my brothers. Those days were traumatic, being in an unknown city, among foreigners and a different language. I would often cry out to God in my sleep. God was the only one I had in the middle of so much going on, and pouring my grief out to Him became the most important part of the day. No one could see it but it was only Him who was sustaining me during those days. No friends, no family, nobody !!
Apart from being mistreated, I was humiliated in the marketplace. During the auction of the slaves, they would strip me of my clothes in front of everyone and put a price tag showing my worth. I had to stand naked to guarantee my potential buyers that I had no contagious diseases on my body. It felt as if all eyes from those busy streets were only on me.
It was there in the market that Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (at that time), bought me and took me to his home. Potiphar was very kind to me. He saw God’s favor upon my life and made me the overseer of the house. I was doing well because God was with me. When everything was going well, I thought to myself that this was the fulfillment of the dream. I held my hopes high.
But God had other plans.
Potiphar’s wife had her eyes on me from the very beginning and she would often try and seduce me. I would outrightly deny her, never giving her a foothold. She wrongly accused me of rape when she got tired and humiliated by my constant rejection. When Potiphar got to know about this, in his anger, he confined me to a prison without enquiring the truth. I was sent to jail for integrity.
Confinement in the prison really broke me. I felt I had hit rock bottom, never felt so low in my life. The walls of despair were higher than my walls of prison. Each passing day, the pain would consume me until my life was swallowed up by endless fears. Depression held me captive, inflicting scars for life.
I had so many questions for God, but the most important one was ‘why’. There were times earlier in my life when I felt broken and I knew that I deserved to be, because it was the result of the impulsive choices I had made. But being in jail wasn’t the consequence of my bad choice. Why the pain and suffering? What did I do to deserve this? What happened to the Dream? Do His Promises ever come true? I was put in jail despite of my upright walk with God.
These questions kept lurking at me. I was fed up of this constant roller coaster of emotions that I could no longer hide in self pity. After exhausting all my self help in vain, I ran to God for refuge as my last option. I had not forgotten how He had sustained me during my slavery time, and only He could help me with the help I really needed. Prayer and hope lead me into His presence.
That’s when it dawned on me that His presence had never left me. His presence was always there. Even in my darkest nights, He was gently sustaining me. The same presence that was with me when I was mistreated as a slave or being wrongly accused. It was His presence that gave me hope. That brought light into my darkness. It helped me let go off the need of having all the answers or making sense of what I was going through.
It took time but slowly, I was able to let go of my disappointments as I started embracing Him and He became my reality. All my desires didn’t matter anymore. My dreams held no priority. My hope and satisfaction was no more in things to come but right here in my secret place with God.
He became my One Desire.
Don’t get me wrong, dreams are important but not as important as the Dream-Giver. I was sold to slavery when I was 17. And my dream came true when I was 30. These 13 years of my life were full of pain, doubt and waiting. But it was not wasteful because I finally learnt something very valuable – to be satisfied in Him. As I was waiting on God’s promises, His promises didn’t matter anymore as I found delight in Him. He became the very promise I was desiring for. From then, it didn’t matter where I was as long as I could be conscious of His goodness and love. I no longer had to wait for my circumstances to change to praise Him. If my circumstances didn’t affect His thoughts about me, then why should mine? He taught me to celebrate life in spite of my wavering situations.
All I want to convey to you from what I have learnt is that – God is always with you. He will never leave you. And you can trust Him, no matter where you are. He is that good! You can make Him your One desire and see Him coming through.
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