We have a place in the story, whether we are great or lowly. It is a long and patient story with twists, turns, and gaps in reporting, but it is a story with miraculous continuity and eternal clarity.
In the midst of the story, we have only a limited perspective. We cry out the prayers of the Psalms such as:
"For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners." - Ps. 69:33
Then, we turn to narrative for hindsight and to the words of Jesus and His apostles for insight.
"Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph."
This is going to happen.
Joseph has his time. We have our times. He did his job. He elevated his people and all the people. He was well known and respected and he made a major contribution to the world.
Then, he died.
And he was remembered.
And then, he was forgotten, slowly, gradually, not completely, but enough so that honor and glory and strength of influence evaporated.
Generations had passed and the person of influence simply did not know Joseph. All he saw were people he perceived as a threat.
He lashed out with irrational and indiscriminate violence to commit an act of mass genocide. It was horrific and yet, it was the story of emergence. A new leader would emerge from the bulrushes who, 80 years later would stand before a king and lead a people to freedom.
And he would be reminded of the story of Joseph and he and those who later reflected upon his life and legacy would somehow, connect the two stories to make one continuous story.
That was the story of resurgent and emergent leadership in a world where leaders come and go and crises grow and recede.
Our stories may seem isolated, disconnected, intermittent, and separated by decades and more of discontinuity, but they are actually part of one story.
We are known, remembered, and forgotten. Then, years, decades, and sometimes centuries pass and some sliver of memory is passed to the next wave of God-work in human frailty and greatness. A new story grows out of the old story and something lost in memory comes again into memory and some tiny tentacle grows to connect the new to the old.
And it is one story from Joseph to Moses and to and through so many stories to our own generation, having passed through the cross and resurrection, the story continues and we cannot know how many more chapters shall be written before there is some grand tension that shall bring us to that last page that grips us with anticipation and then, The End and then, we turn to page for ...
an Epilogue ...
for the "logue" is "logos" and the Word goes on and on and on ...
... and on ...
This is our time. What shall we do? How shall our story join the great ongoing story?
The story connects vertically AND horizontally.
"And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”"
"And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again."
Greatness and honor may come at a price too high for us to be willing to pay. Leadership is not about receiving accolades. This is demonstrated for us. Our place in the story, if we follow the Story Teller, is sometimes more humiliating than congratulatory. But it is the story and we are a part of it as well as beneficiaries of it. It is easier to read the first and last paragraph of every chapter and the first few words of every paragraph and skim over the gory details, but the big story includes some real pain, suffering, and sacrifice and most of that is done for us. Our place in the story is to take our place in the story and to want nothing more than for the Storyteller to finish it His way.
Have a lovely day!