It is not our place in this life to understand the paths that the Lord puts in front of us. Just as an infant does not understand their “captivity” within a crib, our lives as flawed humans often take turns that are not what we would consider good only to find out that God’s plan was the best possible scenario.
One of the easiest places to see this is in the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Joseph was loved most by his father Israel more so than any of his brothers. The Lord gave him dreams in his youth that showed him ruling over his brothers and his father and his telling of these dreams made everyone angry with him. Even his loving father balked at the idea of bowing to his own son.
His brothers plotted against him and as a result he was sold into slavery to the Egyptians. This seemed acceptable at first as Joseph was given power of Pharaoh’s entire household, but when Pharaoh’s wife lied about him and had thrown in jail Joseph was once again in distress… or so he thought. At this point his life had been a flurry of ups and downs while he was still very young. He was a favored son, then his brothers turned on him, then he was a slave, then he was Pharaoh’s highest servant. Then, he was jailed and all seemed lost again for the man, but all of this was part of God’s plan.
As we’ll soon discuss, timing is everything in Joseph’s (and our) life. Had anything happened at the wrong time, the events that were to come would not have happened. This is clear in what happens while Joseph is in jail. He rightly interprets the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s jailed servants and asks the one who will live to remember him and ask Pharaoh to release him. Despite it being only a short time since the request and with the uncanny accuracy of Joseph’s interpretation, it would seem nearly impossible to believe that the servant could forget Joseph, but he did. It was the best thing that could have happened for Joseph, his family, and all future generations of Israelites.
Had the servant remembered Joseph and had him released at that time, Joseph would have been free but unexceptional in the eyes of Pharaoh. The servant inexplicably forgot Joseph because God’s timing is much better than ours. God gave a dream to Pharaoh that needed interpretation but nobody in the land could help. Then, the servant finally remembered that young Hebrew man who rightly interpreted his dream and told Pharaoh of him.
Joseph told Pharaoh that his dream was a warning of the 7 years of alternating feast and famine throughout the land of Egypt and explained the plan that would help the people and the country survive. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of everything.
40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”
41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
All of the tribulation that Joseph had experienced to that point would have been enough to shake the faith of most men. However, had it not happened exactly as it did, the course of the human race would have been changed forever.
God has a plan for all of us. That’s not to say that we are all destined to be rulers or that we will follow the paths that are laid before us. Joseph was given a path that was clear – most of the situations he faced were forced upon him. He did not have to make many choices. In life, sometimes we are not given a choice. We cannot let these situations, however grave they may seem to us, shake our faith or cause us to believe that we are not loved. God loves us all. Many face persecution for our faith. Others have it easy. This life is a test in many ways. The only thing that matters in this life is how we move forward in order to get to the next life. If we follow the Lord’s plan and have faith in Yeshua as our Lord and Savior, we will live on in paradise.
Just because we don’t understand the reasons for things that we go through doesn’t mean that they’re not what’s best for us and others.