The story of Joseph from the Old Testament gives us one of the greatest views of God’s sovereignty. Joseph encountered many highs and lows over his life, yet we know that God’s ultimate plan prevailed. It’s easy for us as the readers to read that account and quickly skim over the hardship or questions Joseph may have had in the midst of his difficulties, but let’s take a minute to join Joseph in those hard moments.
After dreaming two different miraculous dreams that that his family would bow down to him along with the sun, moon and stars, his brothers, who had deep anger, resentment and bitterness toward Joseph, sold him into slavery. Can you imagine this?! His family, the people he spent all his time with and trusted the most, discarded him as if he were no better than livestock. Consider everything that was stripped from Joseph in this moment: his parents who adored him, the comfort of his surroundings, and the land he called home. He lost everything in a single moment.
Then, after being purchased as a slave, God brought Joseph to a place of prominence in Potiphar’s house. However, because of a jealous and lustful woman, he was falsely accused of sexual harassment and thrown in jail. Joseph must have been feeling some sort of déjà vu. All the comfort and security stripped away from him once again.
Then, he remains in jail at a minimum of two years (most likely a bit longer than that but based on Genesis 41:1 we concretely know it was at least two years). Scripture never gives us a glimpse into Joseph’s mindset but place yourself in his shoes. Do you think there would be any moments of hopelessness or thoughts of, “God what are you doing?” I imagine there were even though Scripture doesn’t tell us. Yet, Joseph persevered and continued to be diligent where the Lord had placed him.
Here’s the awe-inspiring moment of this story: when Egypt is in a full-blown famine with Joseph second in command, he reveals himself to his brothers who have bowed down to him (note the fulfillment of his dream) and Joseph shares that it was God who placed Joseph right where God wanted him.
He doesn’t state it once or twice, but three times to assure his brothers that God was working a plan out that none of them could have ever imagined. Take a look at what Joseph says:
- “…God sent me ahead of you.” -Gen. 45:5b
- “But God sent me ahead of you…” -Gen. 45:7
- “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” -Gen. 45:8a
After all the injustice, anguish and dark nights, Joseph was still able to say that it all worked together for good and for God’s glory.
Friend, I need you to hear me: God has a plan. It’s a plan for good, He just has to work it out according to His timing. So, what do you do in the pain or the wait or the confusion?
You choose to trust Him.
The moments when we don’t feel like trusting or that we doubt anything good can come from a situation are the exact moments we grow our faith and trust in the Lord. Choosing to trust God by telling him and surrendering control over whatever you’re holding onto is how you can take a step toward trusting God more. It’s not easy, but friend, it’s freeing.
When you have trouble trusting, I’d encourage you to pray (and memorize and meditate on) the Scripture below. God is working something out friend, you and I may not be able to see it just yet.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”