“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
We can’t always see where our course is leading. As we’re running the race, we’re not always certain of what’s around the corner. We don’t always know. Only one sees the course perfectly: the loving ONE who marks it out for us.
Joseph is told at the very beginning of his race in Genesis 37 that he would provide for his brothers and family. He had no way at all to anticipate how that would come about in such a massive way. Yet God knew all along that he was going to use Joseph to feed his family and provide for the welfare of the world. It just took a while. It took a long while. It took thirteen years of slavery and prison before God eventually placed Joseph where he knew he’d be all along. God intended it for good. We just don’t always see it.
What I want you to know is that it doesn’t matter where you are in your race right now. If you’re at the top of the highest peak or at the bottom of the lowest valley; if all your dreams have come true or if your life feels like a never-ending nightmare, there will always be ups and downs. Some lives are more up than down, true, and vice-versa. But there will definitely be highs and lows in your race. The truth is that regardless of your present circumstance, God’s sovereignty — his love, his mercy, his justice, his faithfulness, his loyalty, his goodness — always wins!
Evil will not triumph. Blessing will always prevail. Obstacles will all eventually melt away. Joseph’s story shows us God’s complete control of our races.
In Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat the narrarator encourages Joseph while he’s in prison. He tells Joseph not to despair. Don’t give up. “I’ve read the book,” he says, “and you come out on top!”
Now, we don’t have that benefit. Our books aren’t finished yet. The chapters of our lives are written as we live them out every day. And we don’t know exactly what our endings are going to look like. But the call from our God is to run the race with endurance and faithfulness. Wherever we are. Whatever our circumstances. Keep in mind, our race is much more than just the end result. The journey, the process, is just as important.
Joseph’s complete faithfulness while he was a slave, while he was in prison, was every bit as valuable to God as the ultimate deliverance he brought to his family. Faithfulness is faithfulness. It’s huge!
Our response to the God who marks the course and runs the race with us is not a raised hand in a moment of prayer in the worship center. It’s not an emotional walk down the aisle during the singing of Trust and Obey. It’s not the amount on your Sunday morning check or the Bible passage you read Tuesday. The only appropriate response to God’s total sovereignty and loving faithfulness is complete submission. Total commitment.
“We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to our Father and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our own good that we may share in his holiness.” ~Hebrews 12:9-10