I wrote this post the week after I lost my job pastoring a church in the Atlanta Metro area. It was a crazy moment for the Alexander Family. And a moment that I never imagined that I’d ever be walking through. Not sure this post registered as the #2 post of 2011 because everyone loves a good train-wreck or because it struck a cord. Either way, here’s the #2 post from 2011.
When Life doesn’t go According to Plan
Sometimes when you’re preparing to teach it has more to do with what God wants to do in you, than what He wants to do through you. This past week I had planned on diving into a teaching series about the life of Joseph. But instead of teaching about it, I find myself living it. Life just hasn’t necessarily gone according to plan this week. So maybe the teaching series will have to wait a little bit. But until then, here’s some of the stuff I’m living in the moment.
Is God being with me dependent upon my circumstances? For many of us I think our faith in God hinges upon the circumstances we find ourselves in. If our life is going good then God is good. But if our lives are in turmoil then God must be mad at us or absent.
But what if we’re wrong? What if the Bible is true? That God will never leave you or forsake you. That He’s an ever-present help in times of trouble. That He loves you. That He works all things, the good and the bad, together for the good of those who love Him. That there is nowhere you or I can run to that He’s not there in the thick of it with us. What if God really does have a greater story that He is writing and the plot is thicker than the one moment we find ourselves in right now? What if it’s just not about the circumstances that we happen to find ourselves in today, what if there is something bigger going on?
Below are just a few transferable principles that we can learn from Joseph’s life. (*To read Joseph’s story for yourself, check out Genesis 37, 39-47)
1. Circumstances are more than just circumstances
The crazy circumstances that Joseph finds himself in weren’t God’s punishment; ironically they were God’s provision for His people. Without Joseph the nation of Israel would have come to an abrupt end.
2. God is with us in our mess
God wasn’t mad at Joseph and God didn’t abandon Joseph. Numerous times in the story the Bible affirms that God was with Joseph through the mess.
3. It’s possible to be steady in the storm
Joseph consistently demonstrated steadiness when things around him seemed to be swirling. Each step along the way when he was beaten by his brothers, sold into slavery, trafficked across borders, sold again, had his bosses wife make a pass at him, was falsely accused of rape, thrown in jail, and forgotten in jail Joseph remained faithful and demonstrated godly character.
Hard times are a litmus test of our faith. They test the quality of our faith. And the Scriptures would teach us that it’s in difficult times that God shapes, builds, and grows us. It’s easy to trust God when things are easy and everything is good. But can you trust God when things don’t go your way?
Why is it so hard for us to trust God through our circumstances?
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