Why, oh why, do I make things so difficult? Why do I give myself unnecessary work? Why, when I’m [hypothetically] walking down a path, do I see a turn that has been blocked off with large rocks and think, “hmm, here’s the direction I should go,” rather than continuing straight on the path that’s been lit up for me?
I don’t know about you, but the way I get places, whether it’s college or to a relationship or to a milestone in my relationship with the Lord, is always crooked and more difficult than it should be.
But I make it. And I am under NO delusion that I make it because of my own ability to follow a bath or to not fall or to succeed. The only reason I make it anywhere in life is because God has willed it.
Let’s take Joseph for example. What we know for truth about Joseph’s life is that he made it to Egypt.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
That’s a lot of words to pretty much say this: God’s will for Joseph’s life happened. Joseph got to Egypt and was given a certain amount of power from Pharaoh himself. If you know the story, then you know after this, Joseph is able to save the lives of many by helping prepare the country for a famine.
Famine was coming to Egypt and all of the people probably would have died if Joseph hadn’t been there to help prepare them. But he was there and they didn’t die. Why was this important? When reading this, we must ask: why did this story earn more or less the last 13 chapters of the very first book of the Bible? Why did Joseph need to get to Egypt so the people, Jacob’s children, would have food and water to live on?
Because Jesus would eventually come from Judah’s bloodline. So, Joseph had to keep them alive. God was protecting the bloodline of the entire world’s Savior.
God wanted Joseph in Egypt, so Joseph got to Egypt. But he didn’t get there easily. His path wasn’t straight and perfect and simple without any pain. His path to Egypt was marked with jealousy, pride, favoritism, slavery, and neglect, but he eventually got to Egypt. He got there because God wanted him there, because God had a plan that was so much bigger than Joseph’s life.
There was probably another path that could have gotten him to Egypt in a better way. What if he had processed the prophetic with his dad? What if Isaac had talked him through visions and how to successfully share them with people? What if they spent time seeking after God’s vision together?
We could have seen Joseph walk into Egypt like we saw Jonah walked into Nineveh. His crazy, painful path could have been avoided if he had done it the right way. But he didn’t and so we get this messed up path that shows how hard humans can fail.
The good news is we serve a God who is in control but doesn’t have to be controlling. Joseph made his choices and so did his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and the two prisoners (cupbearer and chief baker) so Joseph got to Egypt because it was God’s will for him to get there but the path he got there was painful and long and hard because God lets us be humans and make mistakes and fall.
But don’t think for a second that our failures are ever going to mess up the greater plan and will of God. God’s will gets accomplished in spite of our foolishness and failure. (Take for example the Tower and Babel – “go and multiply”)
We have several opportunities to take our free will and align it with the plan of God, but as humans, we will consistently make the wrong choices. We will climb over walls to run across paths that have been obviously blocked off. We will stumble around in the dark because we are afraid of the light. We will fall and bruise and bleed and break. We will push our hands against our ears and try to block out what God is calling us to do because our way seems so much better but it never is.
The good news is this: You are not the end all be all, there is a bigger story going on here.
This is not my story, it is God’s. So, yeah, my path is marked with pain and failures and hurt, but I will eventually reach the destination I need to because God’s will is so much more powerful than my small human failures. In spite of my failures and disobedience, God’s plan will reign because He is a merciful, powerful, all knowing God that delights in me and has chosen to make me a part of His story.