I rolled out my script of questions. Prepared to ask each and every one to the guy in blue jeans and plain white shirt. I cleared my throat and was about to speak the first words when he said it.
“I would’ve done it, you know?”
I smiled. “Why didn’t you?”
He gave a short laugh “It’s complicated.” He turned his gaze down the floor.
I’m sure it is. That’s exactly what the apostle Paul was feeling when he wrote Romans 7:15 which says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
“We have time,” I rolled back my script. This might be more interesting than my set of questions.
“She was beautiful.” He smiled. He looked at me again. He moves his head a lot. “She was there everyday Sean. Always walking about the house.”
He shifted his weight in his chair and leaned forward as if to whisper something. “She wore this scent that I really like. It smelled good.”
This is getting interesting. I leaned forward so as not to miss a word.
He leaned back and shook his head quickly as if awakening from a trance. “But you know, the story didn’t start there. It started when I was sold as a slave by my own brothers. It was horrible.”
A short frown highlighted the edge of his lips. “Y’know that feeling when you suddenly feel weak to the knees? It only comes when the thing you most fear has come true in your life.” He put a hand to his chin, “That’s how I felt.”
There was a short pause of silence as those words left his mouth. I was starting to think about what I was going to say to break it. When he spoke.
“I was a kid. Sold as a slave for twenty pieces of silver. The Midianites took me to Egypt.” He reached out for his glass of water and sipped a mouthful. He pointed his finger up as he was swallowing the water and putting the glass down. “All the while, there’s this one thought in my mind.”
I’m sure my eyebrows furrowed as I asked “What is it?”
“It’s the question that all people ask when things go terribly wrong.” He smiled. “Why, God?”
I’ve asked that question. Yes. More than once – and things weren’t nearly as wrong for me when I did. I’ve asked that question when I’ve failed in my subjects. When I got so hooked into computer games and felt empty each time I finished one. I’ve asked that question when conflicts with my loved ones arise and I feel wronged.
I nodded. “And what did God tell you?”
Joseph looked at me straight. His face expressionless. “Nothing.”
I was puzzled. “Nothing?”
“Yes. Nothing. I was afraid. Then I was angry.” His eyes hardened and his fists clenched. “Angry at God for letting that horrible thing happen to me. My heart was hard. I wanted to rebel.”
A moment passed. He loosened his fists and his face calmed. “But I knew that God was sovereign and I believed it with all my heart. It didn’t make sense. But somehow, I knew God had a purpose.”
He breathed deeply and put his left hand on his chin as if he was reminiscing. “I was bought by Potiphar. I didn’t know how much he bought me for, nor did I care at that time.”
He looked at his glass of unmoving water. “I worked hard, Sean… Very hard.”
I couldn’t help but look at the glass of water in his hands too. “So why didn’t you?”
He played with his glass of water. Toying it in a circular motion so that the water was moving. “I was afraid.”
He looked back at me, “God showed me that He was blessing me. It was obvious. From a slave to a position of power – it was an impossibility apart from the hand of God at work!”
He stopped toying with his glass of water but he looked back at it, “I was afraid of God because I was starting to know Him.”
He stood up from his chair and looked out the window, “I could not have done it y’know.”
This time, I reached for my glass of water, ” Done what?”
I took a sip and gulped it down. “But you did.”
He turned back to face me, walking towards me, “Word of advice Sean,” He reached for my script of questions, unrolling it then looked back at me.
“When you’re being invited by Potiphar’s wife, run. Leave your cloak behind or what have you. Let her make her accusations.”
He held my shoulder and looked straight at me. “Run like you’re going to die if you don’t.”
He started walking towards the door – I realize my time to ask my questions from him was over!
“Because the truth is, if you don’t run, you’re probably already dead.”
He turned the doorknob, “Interesting questions by the way.” Then he was gone.
I took another sip from my glass of water.
Without me even asking, he already answered all of ’em.