When Life Turns Unexpectedly

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

There are times in life when everything seems to be going so well. We settle into our comfort zone and a pattern of expectation that the way things are now will be that way tomorrow and in the days that follow. However, when an unexpected change occurs, it can offset or derail our comfort zone and quickly transform our expectations into an uneasiness about what lies ahead or even fear of the unknown future. However, the Bible teaches that God’s plan is constantly in motion and that while we may not always understand why these sudden changes and shifts in direction occur, God sees the bigger picture. In contrast, we may only see a single piece of the puzzle, and yet, God is in control, and we must trust Him by faith.

When we look at the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, at one point, he was riding on cloud nine, one might say. His father favored him over his brothers and gave him what Scripture describes as a “multicolored tunic” to wear. As you might guess, that did not sit well with Joseph’s brothers, so they devised a plot against him and sold him to some Midianite traders passing by. Essentially, they sold their brother into a life of slavery. Talk about life taking a hard left turn! Joseph’s world was shattered, his comfort zone gone, and his expectation of what lies ahead was lost to the unknown. Have you ever been in such a spot? What did Joseph do, and how did he cope with such a drastic turn of events? The answer is clear in Scripture; he kept his focus on God!

Taken to Egypt, Joseph was purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard, and taken to his house to work as a slave. However, falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, Joseph was then put into prison. A prison in those days probably did not mean three square meals a day, rehabilitation programs, etc. No, prisons in those days were, in most cases, extremely harsh living conditions. However, Joseph kept his focus on God, and God sent Pharaoh a vision through a dream that only Joseph could interpret. The vision revealed that Egypt’s crops would prosper for seven years, only to be then followed by seven years of famine. In the end, because Pharaoh saw that the Lord was with Joseph, he made Joseph his second in command to oversee grain storage in the prosperous years so the people would survive the years of famine.

The night can always look its darkest just before dawn. To quote from the movie Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, when life took another sudden, sharp left turn for Chuck Noland, he said, “I know what I have to do now, I need to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” As Christians, we need to keep breathing, keep our faith, and focus on Jesus, as did Joseph. Why? Because tomorrow the sun will rise, God’s plan is still in motion. God promised that He would never leave nor forsake us– not ever! (Deuteronomy 31:6)

If you are at a point where life has taken that hard, unexpected left turn and what was once a clear vision for the days ahead is now clouded and murky, let your heart not be troubled, for God is in control. The Bible says that He “causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him. To those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Therefore, let us remain faithful and patient for the Lord’s plan and blessings that await us around the corner. Today is a new beginning!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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