How many times does it seem that we are nowhere we want to be? Or worse, going in the opposite direction of where we intend to go? As I read about Joseph in Genesis 37, it only reinforces what I have already seen in the patriarchs thus far. I am beginning to see a trend.
I remember Abraham and how long he was fatherless, while getting older by the day. I remember Isaac being fatherless 20 years after he married Rebekah. I remember Jacob fleeing to keep safe from Esau and going into life alone and a land unknown, far from his home and family. I remember him working and waiting 7 years for his chosen bride Rachel, only to be cheated at the end as Leah was given to him instead. This resulted in 7 more years of work in exchange for her. Now I see it happening with Joseph.
As I read in chapter 37, I see a young man privileged and protected. Joseph is feeling good about his life and his potential, even more so as he has two separate dreams giving him promise or premonition of future power and authority for himself. He is feeling sure of himself and his future.
But then come the twists and turns, unforeseen and undeterred.
Joseph finds himself betrayed by his brothers, sitting helpless in a cistern. The situation, as bad as it was, only worsens, as he is further betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave to merchants on their way to Egypt. He is then sold to one of Pharoah’s officials, the captain of the guard, as a slave for his household.
I wonder what he was thinking, how he was processing it all? That’s what I would be doing. Thinking, processing, and trying to make sense of it all. I tend to live life better when it makes sense. Anyone else out there like that?
Where was the privilege? Where was the protection? What about the dream?! Is this what is supposed to be happening? This is not the path on the map to success I planned, not to mention agreed to!
But that is where Joseph finds himself. What about you? Are you where you want to be? Where you planned to be? Has life taken twists and turns from where you envisioned yourself at this point in your life? Is it taking you longer to get where you want to go? Be what you want to be? Does it seem you are no closer to your goal of marriage? A baby? A job opportunity? An empty nest or a prodigal returning ? Joseph can relate, and so can I.
From what I have learned from Genesis as I studied Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and now Joseph, God takes us on twists and turns, often leading to nowhere from our perspective. But every time, He is actually leading us somewhere even better. God is not out for the destination alone, He is after a purified faith in the journey. And in the process, the end place we find ourselves becomes even better than previously envisioned because we are changed, and our Jesus becomes more precious and powerful than we ever hoped or realized before!
Not to spoil the unfolding of the story, but Joseph does end up right where he was supposed to, with the life God prepared for him, full of promise and purpose. And so will you. And so will I. Only let us wait just as patiently and faithfully as we see Joseph while in Egypt! As the story unfolds through the rest of Genesis, may we learn from him how to persevere through the twists and turns of life, all to the glory of God, who knows us each by name!