Recently, I decided to shake things up a bit and change Siri’s voice (you know that know-it-all on our cell phones) to something other than an American woman. The choice I finally landed on was an Australian male. His voice was warm and comforting and, if I told him his answer wasn’t helpful, he would say, “I’m so sorry, Abby.” Nice.
Eventually, I did find a snag in the design. One day, I asked Siri (or Crocodile Dundee or Hugh Jackman or whatever name you might give him) to call my daughter. “Call Ella,” I said plainly into my phone.
The phone answered back with an Aussie accent, “Hello.” (Actually it sounded more like ’Ello.)
“Huh?” I thought. “That’s strange. No. Siri, call Ella.”
With a sigh I removed “Hugh” from my voice preferences and went back to Siri—boring but efficient.
It’s frustrating to be misunderstood. We think we’re being completely clear and yet we discover our motives or our actions are challenged.
Joseph was misunderstood. He was the favorite son of twelve boys. His brothers were jealous of him and misunderstood his dreams.
After those brothers sold him off as a slave, he was made a top-level servant in a rich man’s home. The rich man’s wife took notice of handsome, young Joseph. When her advances went unreturned, she lied and had him thrown in prison. Again, he was misunderstood in spite of his good intentions.
Even with his years of setbacks, Joseph continued to do what was right. His work ethic was commendable. His interpersonal skills made him an easy friend. His middle name should have been “perseverance.” But the thing that was most notable about him was his general good attitude.
When he finally reached the penthouse version of Egyptian politics and lifestyle, and he had his brothers groveling before him—hungry and desperate—Joseph chose mercy.
Joseph could’ve gloated and kicked his begging brothers while they were down but instead he said this:
“I am your brother Joseph. I am the one you sold as a slave to Egypt. Now don’t be worried. Don’t be angry with yourselves for what you did. It was God’s plan for me to come here. I am here to save people’s lives. This terrible famine has continued for two years now, and there will be five more years without planting or harvest. So God sent me here ahead of you so that I can save your people in this country. It was not your fault that I was sent here. It was God’s plan.”
Joseph saw God’s Providence in the twists and turns of his very frustrating past. He had been maligned, mistreated, misjudged, and sometimes forgotten, but he continued to rely on God’s power and the fact that his Lord understood him even when no one else did.