Life pulls us down.
Joseph arrived in Egypt with nothing. Not a penny to his name or a name worth a penny. His family tree was meaningless. His occupation was despised.1 The clean-shaven people of the pyramids avoided the woolly bedouins of the desert.
No credentials to stand on. No vocation to call on. No family to lean on. He had lost everything, with one exception. His destiny.
Those odd dreams had convinced Joseph that God had plans for him. The details were vague and ill defined, for sure. Joseph had no way of knowing the specifics of his future. But the dreams told him this much: he would have a place of prominence in the midst of his family. Joseph latched on to this dream for the life jacket it was.
How else do we explain his survival? The Bible says nothing about his training, education, superior skills, or talents. But the narrator made a lead story out of Joseph’s destiny.
The Hebrew boy lost his family, dignity, and home country, but he never lost his belief in God’s belief in him. Trudging through the desert toward Egypt, he resolved, It won’t end this way. God has a dream for my life. While wearing the heavy chains of the slave owners, he remembered, I’ve been called to more than this. Dragged into a city of strange tongues and shaved faces, he told himself, God has greater plans for me.
God had a destiny for Joseph, and the boy believed in it.
Do you believe in God’s destiny for you?
I’m entering my fourth decade as a pastor. Thirty years is plenty of time to hear Joseph stories. I’ve met many Egypt-bound people. Down, down, down. I’ve learned the question to ask. If you and I were having this talk over coffee, this is the point where I would lean across the table and say, “What do you still have that you cannot lose?” The difficulties have taken much away. I get that. But there is one gift your troubles cannot touch: your destiny. Can we talk about it?
You are God’s child. He saw you, picked you, and placed you. “You did not choose me; I chose you” (John 15:16 NCV). Before you are a butcher, baker, or cabinetmaker, male or female, Asian or black, you are God’s child. Replacement or fill-in? Hardly. You are his first choice.
Such isn’t always the case in life. Once, just minutes before I officiated at a wedding, the groom leaned over to me and said, “You weren’t my first choice.”
“No, the preacher I wanted couldn’t make it.”
“But thanks for filling in.”
“Sure. Anytime.” I considered signing the marriage license “Substitute.”
You’ll never hear such words from God. He chose you. The choice wasn’t obligatory, required, compulsory, forced, or compelled. He selected you because he wanted to. You are his open, willful, voluntary choice. He walked onto the auction block where you stood, and he proclaimed, “This child is mine.” And he bought you “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). You are God’s child.
You are his child forever.
Max Lucado, You’ll Get through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the first five chapters of Max Lucado’s book, You’ll Get Through This. This study is based on the Life of Joseph, up until his promotion.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
You’ll Get Through This, Lesson #1
You’ll Get Through This
You’ll Get Through This, Lesson #2
Down, Down, Down to Egypt
You’ll Get Through This, Lesson #3
Alone, But Not Alone
You’ll Get Through This, Lesson #4
Stupid Won’t Fix Stupid
You’ll Get Through This, Lesson #5
Oh, So This Is Boot Camp