"He was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love, and gave him favor..." Gen 1:20-21
Joshep suffered unfairly, unjustly, wrongfully. He was left alone, forgotten, lost, far from his family, deprived from his freedom in a foreign culture. It seemed that regardless of his integrity and hard work the discreditable circumstances were tossing him from one wretchedness to another.
But the Lord was with Joseph. God was faithful to him while we could naturally draw the opposite conclusions from his circumstances.
The unchangeable and uncontrollable constraints, the unexpected, not planned, not desired events and circumstances are one of the most important tools in God's hand to accomplish his will. We can see uncountable examples in the Bible to support that truth as well our lives are full of ample evidences for that.
None of us like to loose control and be tossed around by the circumstances. We don't like when the constraints of the circumstances are taking the control out of our hands. Loosing control generates a lot of fear. Fear paralyzes us. At the root of fear we find the lack of trust: we don't trust in God, our loving Father, who controls the circumstances of our life and use them for our good.
The unchangeable and uncontrollable constrains are a key tool in God's hand through which he is:
- Taking us to the place where we need to be and will accomplish through us the things he wants us to do. Without those constrains we might not be where we need to be and would not do what we need to do. Joseph - without these forceful circumstances - would have never become a key leader in Egypt through whom God saved thousands of lives and his own family. But it came with a big personal price he had to pay. The pain over the losses he experienced was there. There is no change without pain.
- Accomplishing the change in us He wants to see. It's too bad, but we only change when we are forced to change. We only grow as we leave our comfort zone and loose control. We don't give up control without being forced to give up control. So God takes over the control at times so we would be forced to move to un-kown territories.
While we feel that the forces of the circumstances are tossing us around in the storm of life, the story of Joseph offers at least two encouragement to us:
- God is not the captive of the circumstances, but he governs them.
- It's under our power and control to decide how we react to the things that happen to us. (I.e.: other people are rejecting us, or they are indifferent, or our kids become sick, or we are going through a financial crises, or we have a change in our work, etc..)
The example of Joseph proves that while he had no power over his circumstances, God was with him in those "out-of-control" situations and Joseph kept under his power how he reacted to the situation: he was faithfully and diligently did everything he could without complains. Joseph couldn't control the situation, but could control himself in the situation. The circumstances, the fear, the hopelessness didn't paralyze him. He didn't turn to the bottomless pit of self-pitty.
The person we become under the un-controllable constrains and circumstances God brings in to our lives is equally important as the mission God wants to accomplish through us.
Our own life is our primary mission field.