“So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed.” (Gen. 47:11 NIV)
This weekend was my daughter’s last regular season soccer game. It was a very tough game. They were definitely outplayed by their opponents. My daughter Karoline played in the goal for the second half of the game. It was brutal to watch as goal after goal was made. I turned around to look at my husband who always stands behind me and he had disappeared. He had walked down to the end of the field where Karoline was goaltending to offer support. I don’t know if he said anything. He’s a soft spoken guy. But he was there watching, right where his daughter could see him.
When the game ended we walked over to thank the coaches and give them gifts. I noticed Karoline walking toward me with tears in her eyes. She came to me and buried her head in my shoulder. She was defeated and broken and just wanted to be consoled. I assured her she had done her best. They were just a better team. The heartbreaking part is that she had practiced every day during the week so she would be ready for this game. Each day we both went outside where I kicked ball after ball at her in preparation for Saturday. We spent hours practicing and yet it wasn’t enough. I know she went in that goal as ready as she could be but still she failed.
This account reminds me of Joseph. His story begins with a dream, arrogance and some angry brothers. He had been given this gift but, because of his immaturity, chose to use it to antagonize his brothers. In retaliation, his brothers threw him into a pit damaging his pride and leading him into a life of misunderstandings. It seems as though every time Joseph found favor, it was stripped away from him. He did the right things and honored God with his behavior and yet, he found himself wrongly accused. As Joseph grew and lived out the difficult life he had, he eventually learned that God gave him his gift as a springboard to greater things. His purpose didn’t stop with dream interpretation. God was grooming him to be leader over Egypt. Had Joseph not endured the difficulties he encountered, he would have remained that pompous boy who sought his own satisfaction. He would not have learned humility, forgiveness and honor. In the end, Joseph was not only reunited with his family, he was able to bless them.
Wondering where God is during hard times is common for me. I try to do the right thing. I desire and believe I am walking in obedience and yet the heartaches still come. The difficulties of life overwhelm me. I wonder if God even sees what I am going through. The Lord never promised us an easy life. I don’t find that anywhere in scripture. What He does promise is that He has a plan and purpose for everything. Our planning and preparing may not bring immediate success but it is all a part of His master plan. God never sees our failures as ending points. He sees them as opportunities for further growth. Our God is involved in every aspect of our lives. When life is difficult we have to remember, He hasn’t forgotten but instead stands close by watching, cheering us on and reminding us of His love.