It is a beautiful sunny day here, and yet I am mindful that the southern states are experiencing horrendous flooding. A Texan friend of ours was headed to Beaumont LA and received pictures of streets that had become rivers and so turned around and headed home. It is devastating to think of what some are dealing with and our prayers are lifted for them.
I started a study based on the life of Joseph by Kelly Minter this week and as God would plan it, the readings are overlapping the current readings for our all-church series.
As I have gone through various portions of Genesis this week, I am once again alarmingly amazed at the dysfunction of humanity and the grace of God to not just throw us all in the scrap heap and start over.
But He doesn’t.
He works redemption in spite of and, curiously enough, through the flaws and failings of His creation.
Just this morning as I read the account of a young Joseph being dispatched out into the countryside to check on his shepherd brothers, I had a new discovery I had never noticed in these passages.
Kelly suggested reading them with an eye that was looking out for how God was working in the story.
Having preceded the study with a short devotional reading that pointed out how often we mistake God’s timing for “coincidence”, I read the passage with the intentional eye of God-sightings and here is what I jotted down from Genesis 37:12-18
* Joseph is wandering around in the middle of nowhere and a man, who happened to not only see his brothers when they were tending flocks in the area, but overheard them say where they were going next just happens to run into him. Kelly adds Jewish tradition holds that the “man” was an angel – but whether an angel or a man, it was incredibly helpful that he happened to be there for Joseph
* Reuben happened to be amongst the group when Joseph appeared in the distance and was able to thwart the “let’s just kill him” plan
* The cistern they threw him in was empty…so he didn’t drown
* The location and timing of the Midianites passing by in conjunction with where they happened to have settled to pasture, Joseph finding his brothers, Reuben interceding and then wandering off for a bit.
* The caravan was headed to Egypt, which is where Joseph would need to end up
I have read this story many times but I had never stopped to think about how God was orchestrating the whole thing. What seemed to be just one awful event on top of the next was being allowed under the direction and protection of a master plan.
Could it be then, that what seems to be interruptions and dead ends and frustrations, the times we are misunderstood, side-lined, dismissed…that these too fall under the permissive will of our God who does all things well?
I pray that I would increase in faith to believe that the things that seem so out of the blue disruptive to my plans are being carefully watched over by the Master of all plans. His ways are not my ways. They are higher than I could think to ask or imagine.
Praise Him <3