Providence is best viewed in the rear-view mirror.
Case in point: Joseph.
God had a clear calling for Joseph, but He revealed this calling through symbolic dreams, cryptic parables hinting that all of Joseph’s family would bow down before him. Joseph thought he had a bright promising future.
And then his brothers betrayed him; Joseph wound up a slave in Egypt.
He made the best of it. Joseph became a trusted administrator for his boss.
And this his boss’ wife betrayed him; Joseph wound up in prison.
He made the best of it. Joseph became the trusted administrator of the prison facility. One day, two prisoners came to him with their dreams. Joseph, having some experience with dreams, interpreted them for the two men. It didn’t turn out so well for one of them (who was to be executed), but the other man was released from prison. Joseph asked the man to remember him. The man promised he would.
But the man forgot. Joseph languished in prison.
And this is where we talk about calling.
Every time Joseph took a hit, he landed in a place where he could use his gifts. Joseph had amazing administrative skills; he was a genius at organizing things, making the trains run on time, so to speak. Joseph kept getting knocked down a rung on the ladder, but at each lower level, he continued to hone his gifts.
Then the king called. It seemed he was having trouble sleeping, and he heard that Joseph knew a thing or two about dreams. Joseph predicted coming years of famine. And the king said “You’re just the man to help us get ready”
Joseph was just the man. He’d spent all these years learning administrative work at many different levels.
Joseph wisely stewarded the country’s resources so that there was enough to last through the famine, as well as enough to provide foreign aid to surrounding people – including Joseph’s family, who came down from Israel.
Now here’s the interesting thing. Joseph’s brothers were afraid that he’d be mad because they had betrayed him. Joseph 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).
Joseph looked in the rear-view mirror of his life and saw how the hand of Providence had turned all that suffering into blessing. He saw how God had transformed Joseph’s circuitous life-path into the perfect training ground for fulfilling his calling.
Could it be that now is the time to work on your gifts in the situation in which God has placed you? Could it be that you need to get a further down the road before you can see what God’s doing in you today?
Soli Deo Gloria
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