Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

When It Seems Like God Doesn't Have A Plan

The Bible has no shortage of amazing stories. Stories of God’s providence, provision, and protection of His people. Stories of God coming through for His people when all else had failed and circumstances appeared dire.

The story of Joseph is a prime example of this. I’ve been reading his story in Genesis 37-50 lately, and I continue to be amazed at this picture of God’s providence in Joseph’s life. I’ll summarize it for you, but you should really check it out yourself.

Does God Have A Plan?

In Genesis 37, God gave Joseph a glimpse of His plan. Joseph didn’t understand this plan. Joseph’s dad didn’t understand this plan. Joseph’s brothers definitely didn’t understand this plan. In fact, Joseph’s brothers were so put off by this plan -- and the obvious favoritism shown by Joseph’s dad -- that they sold their own brother as a slave (and you thought you had a jacked up relationship with your family).

In a moment, Joseph went from spoiled daddy’s boy to slave.

So imagine the inner dialogue of Joseph at this point. Scripture doesn’t record it, but you have to imagine Joseph thought, “Really God?! I thought you had a plan for me. I thought you were going to do something great through me. Now I’m a slave? This is your great plan?”

Regardless of how Joseph felt about his circumstances, we know from the text, "The LORD was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:2).

Potiphar’s Desperate Housewife

God showed Joseph tremendous favor in Potiphar’s house, and he was promoted to oversight of Potiphar's entire home and life. Things were great for Joseph. What felt like a curse quickly became a source of blessing. Maybe God had a plan after all.

There were only two problems: Joseph was fine, and Potiphar’s desperate housewife had the hots for the new house servant (Genesis 39:6-7).

Day after day, Potiphar’s wife threw herself at Joseph, begging him to sleep with her, and day after day, she was denied. One day, after yet another failed attempt at bedding poor Joseph, Potiphar’s wife raised a ruckus and accused Joseph of trying to rape her.

Joseph, a man of the utmost integrity, was thrown in prison.

Talk about a bad day! Joseph had served faithfully, his boss had seen much fruit due to Joseph’s labor, and one crazy wife ruined it all! If Joseph didn’t wonder what God was up to before, he definitely did now.

Yet even on Joseph’s darkest day, “the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love” (Genesis 39:21).

From Prison To The Palace

God showed Joseph favor yet again, and he was quickly promoted to a position of oversight in the prison. In prison, Joseph eventually met the only two people maybe having a worse go of it than him.

Pharaoh had imprisoned both his cupbearer and his baker. Both these men had disturbing dreams one night that Joseph interpreted the next morning. I’ll let you read the story for yourself, but Joseph’s interpretation of these dreams eventually landed him a job as second-in-command to Pharaoh himself! That’s quite the promotion, to say the least.

Joseph’s new job became the key to his ability to preserve, protect, and provide for his own people and the people of Egypt.

God is doing something

So track this guy's story.

Joseph goes from spoiled daddy’s boy to slave. He’s falsely imprisoned, just to be promoted to the palace and running…wait for it…a KINGDOM!

At no point did Joseph’s circumstances point to God’s plan being the preservation of His people through Joseph. By all accounts, Joseph appeared doomed from the beginning.

But through it all, God was with Joseph, and God was doing something through Joseph.

God's Plan And You

Do you know that both of those things are true of you and I? You know God is with you, right? No matter how dark your circumstances appear, God is with you. He’s not waiting for you on the other side -- He’s with you in the midst of the darkness.

Not only is God with you, He’s a working His plan through your circumstances. Like He was with Joseph, God is with you, and He is doing something through you. You may not get it. It may not make sense. But God is always committed to His glory and the good of His people.

So take heart! God is good. God is with you. God’s working out His plan. No matter how things look and how things feel, God’s plan is always good and can’t ever be thwarted.

 

3 Emotions Common To Church Planting

How To Listen To A Sermon