While pondering providence in my last blog, I came to the understanding that God does have a plan, but there is also an expectation on my part. Both Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Romans 8:28 explained such things.
God wants us to seek Him – to trust Him, understanding that we may not always comprehend the entire plan and the path may not necessarily be easy.
Joseph is a great example of just this thing. We read about him starting in Genesis 30. Most of us have probably heard the story. He was his father’s favorite son causing his brothers to become jealous and sell him. He ended up in Egypt, accused of a crime he did not commit, and spent some time in prison. Eventually, the Pharaoh had some bad dreams and Joseph was able to interpret them. Because of this dream interpretation, Joseph became the second in command for the entire nation of Egypt. A famine swept across the land and Joseph’s family was without food. His brothers traveled to Egypt to buy food and met Joseph again. Joseph forgave his brothers and their entire family moved to Egypt. God had provided for them because of Joseph’s faithfulness.
Great story, right? Awesome picture of providence, and Joseph’s faith in the divine care of a loving God. Throughout his entire life, Joseph continued to trust God, believing that God had a plan all along regardless of circumstances. In looking at his life, we can also see that Joseph did not always see God’s plan, but in the end was able to look back and marvel at how God had worked it all out for good.
Sometimes I seem to struggle a little more than Joseph did. In the midst of unfavorable circumstances, I start to complain and try to fix things. I forget that God has His hand on those times, too.
I am challenged as well when I believe God wants me to step out and do things I had never anticipated. I get nervous and start wishing that God would provide me with an entire road map so I could see where I will end up. I have no doubt Joseph was a little hesitant to take on the job of second in command of an entire nation. If you had looked at his resume, it would have read lowly sheep herder, slave, and prisoner. Not necessarily what I would call a stellar resume. He trusted though, and truly believed that if this is what God wanted him to do, God would take care of the details.
God challenged some others in this way as well. Recently, I was reading about the Israelites as they were finishing up their forty years in the wilderness (Joshua 3). They were standing on the banks of the Jordan River and God told them to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant into the river and He would stop the water so they could cross. Notice He did not tell them He would stop the water first, but they would have to step into the river first. He was testing their faith, something they would need as they entered the Promised Land.
God does the same with me. He has a plan for my life just like He did for Joseph and the Israelites, but He expects me to trust and obey Him as well. Stepping into the river can be a scary proposition, one that requires me to trust the power and benevolence of God. May I be as brave as the Israelites, only then can I really experience the victory that God can bring.