Sunday, February 26, 2012
4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 45:4-9
It's a little uncomfortable here. I feel alone on this path, cautiously placing one foot in front of another, listening intently to hear the Voice behind me saying 'This is the way, walk in it.' The steady pounding of my heart ricochets back to me, quieting down only when my heart is still before the One who directs my steps.
A myriad of circumstances and people brought me to this present season of my journey. And I confess, I don't know that I would have foreseen or initially chosen this present place in which I am standing.
Joseph was the preferred child amongst all of his brothers and was not shy about exalting himself as the favored one. Perhaps he even acted a bit bratty in that gorgeous robe that he wore proudly in front of them. Envious and angry with their youngest brother Joseph, his brothers' plans to kill him were circumvented only by a group of passing merchants who agreed to buy him as a slave. A grim journey, Joseph was then sold in Egypt. In a way that only God could engineer, Joseph becomes a trusted overseer in the house of Pharaoh and later, lord over the land of Egypt, preparing its people for the great famine that would strike. A beloved child. A hated sibling. A nobody. A slave. A man whom "the LORD was with." A servant. A favored lord. A wise steward. A vessel of life. A forgiven man who forgave others.
Perhaps I've been favored by another and that's what landed me here. It's not their fault nor mine. But I've been placed in a position of favor and grace, called to humbly wear my own robe of sorts. It's what God has for me in this season. Or perhaps my own sin has led me to this place. He is a holy God who allows me to experience the consequences of my sin. Or perhaps, like Joseph, another individual's sin has led me to this place. I didn't want to be here, purchased as a slave and brought to a land in which I don't belong. But the soil I stand upon bears the footprints of one whose poor decisions left or directed me here. I don't know this land. It's not my own. Though not despondent, my heart aches.
So here I am. In a place I didn't have saved in my spiritual GPS. A place I didn't set out pursuing. A place I didn't choose for myself.
And that's where Genesis 45:8 knocked the spiritual breathe out of me two mornings ago during my study time: "So it was not you who sent me here, but God." The LORD God who directs my steps (Proverbs 16:19) brought me to this place. No person, thing or circumstance ultimately got to dictate my present season without the Almighty Omnipotent One first giving it a nod of approval. No road do I take unless the One who works all things together for good first said 'Yes.' No consequences of another individual's sins are allowed to affect my life without the protective right hand of my God working out His love for me. No one can send me here without it having been orchestrated and approved by God, a platform for His glory and my good.
And the same is true for you. No pit that another shoved you in was permitted without a miraculous plan for your escape and redemption. No slavery that you found yourself hurled into was given a 'Yes' without a greater purpose of life on the other side.
Joseph was sent ahead of his brothers to preserve life. And I can't help but cling to the reality that the same must be true for myself and anyone else experiencing a present Joseph-like season. That the One who has come to give us life and life to the fullest will see that His purposes are accomplished. That when the path is not of your choosing, it doesn't mean it's not of His. That the One who spoke the world into being has spoken spiritual blessing and life over you.
And maybe, at the end of the day, it's worth considering that though the present path on which you step is not one you initially choose for yourself, it is meant for the preservation of someone's life, even your own.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.