It is not by chance you ask God for help. He moves on your behalf, working to show you His love, provide direction, and strength. He is acting to orchestrate answers to the prayers in your heart before you want to say them – to help you know Him the way you want to – and He does so to fulfill your longings.
God carefully takes what is happening in our lives and brings us to new places of leadership, of service by means we may never consider sensible or even reasonable. He is so in tune to our needs that He is always a step ahead of us to correctly instruct if we want to receive that from Him.
Consider Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was actually being sent to a place where God’s people could be saved from famine although Joseph did not realize it at first:
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?”And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Genesis 37: 5-8
So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. Genesis 37:28
It was not by chance when Joseph ended up in prison for something he never did wrong. And worse, though God was providing favor to Joseph in prison, he still kept getting into trouble for trying to do what was right.
More important was what God was teaching Joseph during that beyond difficult experience. Many of us cannot and do not ever want to imagine being imprisoned especially when we are innocent of wrongdoing. The weight alone of getting thrown into jail out of the spite of another can be enough to break us indefinitely. It did Joseph’s father, Jacob. He grieved heavily, yet Jacob took to heart the dreams his son spoke of because Jacob knew God works even through dreams, and not to take such occurrences lightly. Though a heart wrenching story, look at what God was up to:
Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Genesis 39:20-23
God used what Joseph went through as a way to get him where he was supposed to be. And that favor in prison? That was God reminding Joseph that God was in control and that the prison walls surrounding Joseph were in God’s charge, not any prison guard. God could have dropped those prison walls at any moment. But He waited for a learning process to happen for Joseph’s good.
Those seeming confinements were God’s lesson plans, a syllabus for His precious student He would use to deliver hungry and needy people who, more than food, were in need of God Himself. Joseph would be prepared and used for this purpose.
The Butler Did It – Or Not…
He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. Genesis 40:21,23
Actually, it was God. Even this so-called failure on the chief cupbearer’s (butler’s) part was all in the plan. The butler’s “forgetfulness” was no accident – only God’s timing. When Joseph asked the butler, who was in prison with him, to remember Joseph once he was restored to being a butler, he did not remember Joseph and did not request of the pharaoh to show favor and pardon Joseph.
It feels now and again as if we linger in a prison of some sort for way too long, but God has a plan for it. It is disturbing, no doubt, but we wait and most importantly trust the Lord’s loving hands to move on our behalf in whatever direction we need from His making.
While we are thinking, “What a loss,” God is showing how our situation is his way of transporting us to what He is wanting to do. For the longest time, through difficult years God has shown me how He uses my circumstances not as stumbling blocks for me but methods of transportation, of getting me from one place to another, from little faith to unshakable faith for the ways He has planned to use my life.
Every day we live, He never stops doing this for us. He never stops because His love for us doesn’t end. God loves us on purpose, not by chance, with a goal to help our lives be the best they can be.
He wants us to be full of who He is, overflowing into the lives of others who need to know His love is real, and for them.
In the same way, we learn each day we walk with Him through what Jesus endured unselfishly on the cross so we could live, that all the one true, living God does in our lives is with great care, precision, purpose – and never a chance.