We Americans like to plan. We set aside money for weddings, for education, for cars, vacations and various other activities. We set goals for work, for life. We look forward 5, 10, 15 years to where we would like to be professionally.
For much of the last 24 years, I have lived in cultures where planning isn’t taken to that level.
As a Christ follower, I try to rely upon God’s plan for my life. Sometimes it is hard to discern God’s plan for our lives.
Take the case of Joseph. He was his father’s favorite. He had an unfavorable dream about his brothers being subjected to his leadership. His brother’s sold him into slavery.
Think about that for a moment… how could that be God’s plan?
Joseph wound up in jail in Egypt, spent several years there, forgotten. Finally was released and made number 2 in charge of all of Egypt. His brothers come to buy grain. After some time, he finally reveals his identity to them and speaks these words, “Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Gen 45:5)
After all that Joseph had been through; all the years in slavery, in jail, away from family, he spoke those words! At some point in his heart, he began to understand that this was God’s plan. Again in Genesis 45:8, he says, “So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
From the moment when I learned that I had Stage IIB cancer, I had peace. Where did that peace come from? From a relationship with God and through the circumstances I had been through the last few years.
God had, in ways unknown to me, begun to prepare me and my heart for that journey. In April 2014, I had to leave Donetsk due to the uncertainty of war around me. Reading a book a colleague suggested, “The Red Sea Rules.” Living with colleagues for several months. Not sure where I was to move. Starting “over” in a city that I didn’t know well. All of these circumstances God used in my life to prepare me for that day when the doctor told me I had malignant cancer.
Where does that leave me? How does this apply to me? How will I use circumstances that come up in my life so that I can understand God’s plan?
Remembering what I learned from “The Red Sea Rules,” I need to realize that God means for me to be where I am (rule 1) and that I need to be more concerned for God’s glory than for my relief (rule 2). Lastly, don’t forget to praise Him (rule 10)!