FAITH TODAY - Beyond our expectations
By Shawn Vandop
Main Street Church
Have you ever looked at a struggle or difficulty in your life and wondered why it was happening to you only to later look back and see how it was instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
That was the case for a man named Joseph. You can read his story in Genesis 37-47. His life had a pretty good start. He was his Dad’s favourite son—so he got some perks that his brother’s didn’t. This ticked them off so they sold him into slavery and told Dad that he had been killed by a wild animal.
And for more than 20 years Joseph lived a really tough life. He lived as a slave, was falsely accused of raping a woman and then was thrown into prison and left to die—with no one to defend or rescue him.
But there was one person who knew Josephs situation. God knew and God had a plan. And through a number of circumstances God delivers Joseph from prison by having him interpret a dream for the Pharaoh of Egypt. The dream foretold seven years of fruitful crops followed by seven years of famine. This gave the Egyptians time to store up food. Joseph was also promoted from a prison cell to the palace putting him second in command of all of Egypt.
During this time of famine Joseph’s brothers show up to buy some food and so Joseph reveals his identity to them. Of course this is cause for celebration, cheering, countless high fives and a family group hug—Not! Those brothers freak. They turn white. All they can think about is how today is going to be their last day alive. The worst thing they could ever imagine has happened—their brother, the second most powerful man in the world, has just called them out.
But Joseph doesn’t give them what they deserve. He doesn’t blame his brothers. He doesn’t lash out at them. In fact, he thanks them because in the end it was God who ordained his life so that he could be put in this place of influence in order to save the lives of his family and millions of others.
This is the moment where Joseph’s life comes together and makes sense. He understands the slavery, the false accusations, the prison time, those lonely years waiting for someone to plead his case. And now, as he stands in front of his brothers, he sees his journey clearly so he forgives and shows gratefulness for what God did in order to save his family from starvation.
The story of Joseph shows us what God can do when we fully trust Him in spite of the pain or difficulty we may be facing. When Joseph sat in that prison cell year after year for a crime he did not commit I’m sure he was not thinking how one day he’d be the second most powerful person in the world. But now, he stands before his brothers reflecting on God’s leading and perspective and he is overwhelmed. He is grateful. He is in awe before God realizing that this was not the way he would have ever written the end of his story.
It can be the same for you. Your story does not have to end in defeat or despair. God loves writing surprise endings in our lives. This is the truth about God. He takes bad things, hard things, and difficult things and uses them for good but only if you invite Him into your story. Maybe it’s time to let God become the author of your life. After all, he has written the best-selling book of all time so just imagine what he could do with your story.
w Shawn is pastor of Main Street Church. You can connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.