Grateful for the two wooden beams and thin blanket that are your bed, nights of freezing on dirt floors not too distant, you still can’t sleep. If there ever was a time of wrestling with your faith and questioning God’s ability to keep His promises this would be it. It just doesn’t make any sense. This is not where you are supposed to be. This is not the life, the hope and future you believed God had promised you.
Tossing and turning you think back to the dreams God gave you, of significance and influence. The words of prophesy that flowed easily of power and impact resound in your heart but dissolve like fairy floss when put into the harsh light of your current reality.
Slavery simply can not be part of God’s plan for your life.
This isn’t the life they promised you at church. They promised prosperity for those filled with faith and generous in giving. They promised healing and success and abundance and life if you simply “spoke positive life words” and “invested financially into the kingdom.” Slavery is a sign of faithlessness, sin and lack of God’s favour. Your situation goes against everything you’ve been taught.
Yet you see God’s favour on you, in the midst of your slavery, as you’ve been promoted to chief slave, a wooden bed and blanket the rewards. You have faith, an ever-increasing faith as you ask God to guide you as you lead your master’s household, despite your circumstances. You struggle with sin like most men but you resist temptation regularly. Your situation goes against everything you’ve been taught.
The only thing worse than slavery is prison.
Grateful for the dirt floor and thin blanket that are your bed, nights of freezing on rock floors not too distant, you still can’t sleep. If there ever was a time of wrestling with your faith and questioning God’s ability to keep His promises this would be it. It just doesn’t make any sense. This is not where you are supposed to be. This is not the life, the hope and future you believed God had promised you.
You resisted temptation and it got you thrown into prison. From slavery to prison. Where’s God’s plan in all this? Nothing could be further from the dreams God gave you of being a leader and having your family bow before you.
Yes, you lead and serve prisoners, just as you lead and served Potiphar’s slaves. But this imprisonment simply cannot be God’s hope and future He promised you. Technically you’re a leader but…
Miles from your family, there seems no chance that they will ever bow before you. The dreams God gave you led to visions of being raised up in the midst of you family, seeing looks of envy on your brother’s faces, not cold, dank days a condemned man.
Prison simply can not be part of God’s plan for your life.
I don’t understand why Christians ever think that life is meant to be fair and easy. For some, it is incorrect teaching at church, but you only have to read a story or two in the Bible to see that the lives of God’s elect are not the easy lives. They are lives of hardship, trial and perseverance. The plans God has for them, the hope and future He promises, are not the lives they expected for themselves.
For me, I see that the dreams God has placed in my heart, the prophecies He has given me, do come true. They just rarely happen in the way I expect them to, so it’s easy to miss the fulfillment of them when I’m looking for them in a different way. For example, promises of impacting the nations led me to think of me as a married travelling preacher or author or something like that. Yet I do impact the nations. I write this blog that people across the globe read, I write to and pray for Compassion children around the world. And I have the time to do these impacting things because I’m single. Not what I expected at all! Yet these actions fulfill the promises of God in my life.
I love the story of Joseph. I can see that his life was a very tough one. Most of his life he was in terrible circumstances. I even guess that his arranged marriage was an unhappy one. Yet he kept the faith. Psalm 105: 19 says:
“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,
the Lord tested Joseph’s character.”
I believe that slavery and prison were God’s perfect plan for Joseph. Not God’s permissible plan, but His perfect plan. Why? Because I believe that if Joseph hadn’t been a slave and a prisoner then he, like many of us, would simply have not considered the slaves and the prisoners, nor included them, when it came to handing out food in the famine years. I see that God’s plan for Joseph included looking after the least in the land. God also used this time to test and build Joseph. I see God in every part of Joseph’s life. Like Joseph himself said
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
So when my life doesn’t go according to the way I plan or expect, I can remember Joseph and realise that if God planned his slavery for the good of many, God’s way of fulfilling His plans for my life can be just as unexpected and just as powerful.
How about you? Do you agree? Has your life turned out differently to your plans and yet you see God at work anyway? Share your thoughts with us.
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