Living in God’s Purposes?

If we chatted over a cup of coffee, I’m sure both of us could fill up an hour talking about the way that 2020 has derailed our lives. Dreams have died because of a virus. Sickness has come to millions. Death has visited thousands. Businesses closed. Churches are struggling. Jobs have disappeared. And, I don’t see an end in sight, just yet!

The poetry of Robert Burns, the 18th century Scotsman, includes this one about a poor mouse whose nest was torn up by the farmer’s plow.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men
Gang aft a-gley, (go oft awry)
And leaves us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy.”

It isn’t always a storm, a sickness, a divorce, or a recession that turns life inside out. We can lose our way, make a stupid choice, allow ourselves to believe a lie just for a moment, only to find ‘naught but grief and pain!

Joseph, a hero in Genesis, met more than a few surprises on the way to his horizons! He started life with great hope and was the favored son of Jacob. God blessed him with dreams and intelligence.

But … one day in a dusty desert, his jealous brothers changed everything and sold him to slave traders who took him to Egypt. Game over, right? Not quite!   In spite of his plight, Joseph chose excellence again and again. He was sold to Potiphar and soon was managing the household. The nobleman’s wife decided she really wanted to sleep with the good looking young man. His refusal earned him a false accusation of rape and a long term in prison. Game over? No.

He lived with the same excellence and was soon managing the prison! God orchestrated an unbelievable set circumstances that led him to the Pharaoh. About 20 years after being sold a slave he became the Prime Minister of a world-class nation. Several years passed and one day his brothers showed up in his court. When they found out who held their fate in his hands, they quaked with terror.  

Now it was Joseph’s turn to be a game changer. Once again his commitment to excellence showed up. He refused to take revenge! “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20, NIV)

“God has a plan,” people tell us when our world has flipped inside out! It might seem like one of those things we just like to say. But, He really does have a plan. In the amazing way that only an all-powerful and all-knowing God could, He uses the unexpected, the tragic, the amazing, the wonderful – all things – to present us with new opportunities.

In Ephesians, Paul assures us that God is always at work on our behalf. “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:9-12, NIV)

The grand plan of our salvation is purposeful, designed by the mind of our Father, and He will finish what He started. His Kingdom, now hidden in our hearts, will be revealed to the whole world. Our lives, as we trust Him to lead, are not just a tragedy, though there is sorrow.  He is using us to show off His grace, His mercy, His power so that others will praise Him. Hold onto that, dear friend.

Please know that I am not a fatalist!  It is foolish to say, “whatever will be” and drift with the current. As the story of Joseph helps us to understand, God has a plan and our part is to work with Him to make it known.  So, I am a ‘faithful-ist!’  

The word from the Word is prayer from the Psalms for those whose life has gone awry. If you’re struggling to make sense of it all, make it yours.

“Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord;
may your love and your truth always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.

They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to save me;
O Lord, come quickly to help me.” (Psalm 40:11-13, NIV)

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“The Lord be exalted!”

Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.” (Psalm 40:16-17, NIV)

Jesus is Lord of All

Jesus is Lord of all Jesus is Lord of all
No sin is too big, no problem too small
Jesus is Lord of all Jesus is King of Kings
My Lord is King of Kings

Presidents, princes, paupers will sing
Jesus is King of Kings
Jesus Christ is Lord of all
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
You know he’s Lord of all

Jesus is coming soon
Jesus is coming soon
Just look in your heart and see if there’s room
‘Cause Jesus is coming soon

Jesus Christ is Lord of all
Yes, yes, yes
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
That’s all there is, that’s all

My God is Lord of all
Jesus is Lord of all
Jesus is Lord of all
No sin is too big, no problem too small
Jesus is Lord of all

Keith Green

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