I have been thinking lately about how life often takes turns we don't expect, and don't necessarily like.
Sometimes, it's tempting to say, "Wait! I stood in the wrong line! I didn't sign up for this! I meant to get in the line that passes out compliant kids, upper middle class income, and vehicles and appliances that don't break down!"
But the reality is sometimes God has plans for us that we don't know about or even understand.
I have 4 dear Christian friends who have dealt with the following situations:
- Divorce due to unfaithful spouse
- Teen pregnancy
- Teen drug use
- Spouse died suddenly
In each of the above cases, my friends were thinking, "This is not what I expected of life! I did not homeschool/make homemade, healthy meals/institute daily Bible studies/make sure my family was at church 3 times each week to get this result! I didn't sign up for this!"
Do you remember the story of Joseph in the Bible? I imagine he felt very much the same way.
He had a dream that the sheave of grain he was binding rose up, and the sheaves of grain his 11 brothers were binding bowed down to his sheave. When he told the dream to his brothers, they got angry to think that they would ever bow down to their baby brother.
Then he had another dream that the sun and moon and 11 stars bowed down to him. Not having learned his lesson about how bragging makes people resent you, (And by the way, I have used this story many times as an illustration to my children about how nobody likes a braggart!) he told his brothers about the dream again.
By this time, the 11 older ones had had enough of their punk brother reminding them that he thought he would rule over them one day, so they plotted to kill him. In the end, they chickened out and sold him as a slave to some passersby instead of doing the dirty deed, and Joseph began a life of slavery. He also spent some time in the slammer.
That is the very shortened version of how Joseph probably ended up thinking, "Wait a minute! Hold the boat. Back up the bus. I thought I was special. I thought God had big plans for me! What happened to ruling over my brothers?! Slavery??? Jail??? I didn't sign up for this!"
But, long story short, while it took years of waiting, Joseph really did end up ruling over his brothers and a whole lot of other people. He saved his country and his family from starvation and ended up forgiving his brothers for that whole murder plot/slavery incident.
He came to the conclusion that I want you to remember today.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:21
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it downright sucks.
Don't forget during those times that God has a plan in all of it. God can use your broken dreams, your falling apart life for good.
It is hard to wait for brighter days. It is hard to have hope in the midst of darkness.
During those times, remember Joseph.