My dear Jack, I’m not sure you’ve heard of the Joseph Equation? Well I’ll tell you!
From the Biblical trilogy of the genealogy of Abraham we know Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. It was a gruesome experience – possibly consanguineous to the trauma of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. His life progressed on a journey of indeterminate fate. He finally got a reprieve from being bought by a high ranking Egyptian state official, Portiphar. But then things got complicated when Mrs. Portiphar, his master’s lecherous wife decided to bed him. She wasn’t known for concupiscent subtlety, and when he spurned her advances, she unleashed the furies of hell. Poor Joseph landed in prison on a trumped up charge of rape and aggravated assault. No trial or possibility of parole.
Somehow, somehow Pharaoh needed the giftedness of a Joseph. A Joseph possesses rare strategic skill set. An official he met in prison remembered Joseph and recommended the young man to Pharaoh. Sometimes God takes us through terrible terrain just to facilitate our meeting someone relevant to our future. Joseph passed through the valley of the shadow of death but God mentored him in prison. Got him introduced. Destiny contacts are sometimes hid in the topography of trials and troubles.
Somehow, somehow Joseph ended up as next in command in Egypt. His Godfather, someone we know orchestrated it all. As part of the employment package he got a beautiful wife. Talk about rehabilitation. She was born into nobility. And she soon produced two bouncing baby boys in quick succession. Joseph named the first Manasseh. Means forgetfulness. He named the second Ephraim. Means fruitfulness. Joseph calleth the name of the first-born Manasseh: “for, God hath made me to forget all my labour, and all the house of my father.” And the name of the second he hath called Ephraim: “for, God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of mine affliction.”
This is the Joseph Equation: Manasseh precedes Ephraim. Forgetfulness precedes fruitfulness. If you want to move on to the rest of your life after divorce you must forget the past and leave it where it belongs. Without this you can’t access a new future, and the possibilities resident in your future. And you won’t forget unless you forgive and accept the reality of your divorce. It can feel surreal. It doesn’t matter that this is not how you imagined your life. Accept the fact and move on from there.
You have to understand that the past occupies a different track from the present. Think of rail tracks. Contrary to our understanding, time is not linear. Time is a dimension. The future is not a continuum of a present which is a continuum of the past. The past and the present occupy two different rail tracks. To access your future God shifts you to a different rail track. And when you remarry you’ll discover your new life bears no qualitative resemblance to your past. The way God structured life, a woman determines the quality of life a man has. By quality I don’t mean standard. I mean nature of, flavour, ambient properties, technical conjugatory values. Not easy to describe but married people know.
The technical specs change as soon as you remarry causing a shift in fate. Same over-arching vision, reconfigured route. If you don’t understand the rail track shift you’ll think your new life is a continuum of your past. It’s not! The old rail track is full of pain, disillusionment, misery, depression, disappointment, hopelessness… You must forget these. The new rail track is full of life, hope, vigour, health, love, joy, peace, vitality, beauty. It’s Ephraimic fruitfulness. No matter how far you want to distance your past, as long as you’re on the old rail track you’re on the old track. Shift. It’s hard for the human soul to forget trauma and that’s why you need the help of God. Ask him to wipe away memories. Joseph said God helped him forget the past. He can help you too. And he does so through compensatory substitution – say a very loving and beautiful wife. Same thing happens to a woman – she gets a devoted, caring and generous husband.
Now, there are those in life who won’t let you forget. They are live streaming anthropological diaries of unforgetfulness. They necromantically hang on to the carcass of your past like some religious relic. These are retributive interlopers – storage contractors of prejudice, hatred, malice and slander. They don’t forgive, which is rather odd. How can you be unforgiving of an alleged offence not against you?! They’ll take a judgemental position in something not their business. Yet Paul says everyone should mind their business. Ignore such. Don’t bargain with them! They’re trying to resolve issues in THEIR lives. You’re just a lightning rod.
You’ve got to be tough if you want to move on! You’ve got to be resolute. Set your face like a flint. Stop seeking justification from people, especially your accusers; you’re only empowering them to sit in judgement over you. And some will use religion, channelling the condemnatory voice of the Accuser in pretentiousÂ amebo-ic righteous indignation. Yet who owns the sorrow knows the grief.
Life invariably sorts out everyone’s point of view, humbling us not to sit in vociferous judgement over others. If there’s nothing you learn about God know this: his mercy always triumphs over dogma. That’s the abiding principle from the story of the woman Jesus refused to sentence to death for adultery. Were Jesus alive today these people will condemn him for “condoning” and encouraging adultery. Don’t let people bind you with fetters of accusation to a rail track God is shifting you from. They’ll terminate your life.
And if you want to forget about the past, stop talking about the past. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Stop leading tourist excursions into your past. You’re not a trauma tourist guide are you?! That God substitutes new realities for old experiences is without a doubt.
Look at God’s promise: “Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up; they will be an everlasting sign of [God’s] power and love.” Your past may be full of thorns and nettles but God promises a future of myrtles and cypress trees.
Myrtle is a small tree with sweet-smelling white or pink flowers. Cypress is evergreen. It’s noted for longevity. In other words, your new life will be beautiful and aromatic. And the experience will be long lasting and evergreen. Let God handle your PR. He’s good at it! It is God that justifies the Bible says.
God is not finished with you. Please move on to the next volume of your life.
©Leke Alder 2014