By Bradley Shotts
Oftentimes we lose sight of God’s plan for our lives when we are in the midst of hard times. Within us – while we are facing one hit after another – we often get discouraged and feel as though our lives are on hold as we face uncertainty. Is this actually true though?
Do you know that when you were born it was not just by chance? God actually predestined your birth and knew even before He created the world that you were going to be born and when. He not only knew when you would be born, He also developed a divine plan for your life. You do play an important role in this divine plan. We can freely choose to seek God and follow His plan or we can ignore any relationship with God at all and forego any plan He has designed; the latter, I do not recommend.
Satan loves to plant obstacles along our path to throw us off course. He actually does this very well; in fact, he is the master of disguise and deceit. Satan works tirelessly to interrupt our lives, to discourage us, to create aggravations to try and make us focus our attention away from God, because he knows how vitally important God’s plan is to each of our lives.
The Bible gives us a great example of this in the story of Joseph found in Genesis. Joseph was the 11th of 12 sons. He was the favorite to his father, Jacob, and his brothers became very jealous of him. So much so that they took Joseph and threw him into a deep pit. They ended up selling him for 20 pieces of silver and he was taken far away to Egypt.
This began a very treacherous time for Joseph, where he was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. We can only imagine how Joseph must have felt. He went from being very comfortable in wealth, living under the protection of his father, to losing everything and being forgotten in prison. But Joseph never lost his faith in God; in spite of all the unjust calamity, God never forgot about Joseph. Even though Joseph’s life had taken an unprecedented turn due to the jealousies of his brothers, God used all the things that had gone wrong in Joseph’s life to fulfill a miraculous outcome for him.
God had given Joseph the gift of dream interpretation. King Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret the dream. Then someone remembered Joseph, sitting in prison, who had the ability to interpret dreams. The king sent for Joseph, and under God’s divine direction, Joseph properly interpreted King Pharaoh’s dream. The king was so impressed with Joseph that he appointed him as Vizier of Egypt, the second most powerful man in all the land next to Pharaoh. God always rewards the faithful and brings promotion to those who follow Him and love Him.
Great famine came across the land and everyone had to travel long distances to Egypt for food. Everyone appeared before Joseph, and it was not long before his brothers, who had sold him, were standing before him too. The position Joseph held gave him tremendous power and with one wave of his hand, he could have had all of his brothers executed. If this had happened in your life, how would you have handled this situation? Many would probably have taken the opportunity to seek justice and use their power for revenge. Joseph decided to extend forgiveness to his brothers and he embraced them.
The story of Joseph is powerful and it teaches us many things. It teaches us that as long as we keep our eyes on God, no matter what is going on around us, God is always faithful. It teaches us that God can take wrongs in our lives and use them to create something beautiful; we just have to trust Him in the process. The story of Joseph also teaches us the importance of forgiveness. Just as Christ has forgiven us, we should also be willing to forgive those who have wronged us.
Even though things may not be going exactly the way you want them to in your life, God’s plan is still there for you. Never give up on God because God will never give up on you. Just like God completely restored Joseph, He can do the same in your life.
Let’s pray: Father, we all make mistakes; we stumble and fall. People do us wrong in our lives. There seems to always be hardships that we have to face and endure. Thank You, Lord, that even though we face difficult times, Your plan for our lives still remains. You are the constant that we can always rely on. Give each of us the strength and wisdom we need to reach the finish line You have divinely ordained for us to reach. Amen.
Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. Bradley is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler. He is an ordained minister.