You know that moment when you’re binge-watching a show on Netflix, and you jump ahead in the descriptions a few episodes to find out what’s going to happen? (Don’t act like you don’t do this too.) With really suspenseful shows, I find it reassuring to jump forward a little bit so I have the big picture in mind as I’m watching.
We’re so used to being able to scrub ahead that we rarely encounter a story in real time. Even when we’re reading a book we love, we have the ability to flip ahead a few pages, or catch the synopsis from the back cover.
Honestly, it’s a little unfair that we are able to read the story of Joseph with the end in mind. At the time he was thrown into the pit and sold into slavery, he had no clue what was going to happen to him. It’s true that God always makes good on His promises, but Joseph waited for a long time and he wasn’t able to flip ahead a few pages to see how things were going to pan out. What’s so amazing is that Joseph remained faithful to God and steadfast in his convictions in the midst of such difficult times.
Our spiritual walk often looks like Joseph’s journey. We receive moments of inspiration from God, maybe even a deep sense of calling. We have these great expectations, but then we end up in a pit. Plans derail and processes fail. It’s difficult to maintain hope in these moments.
Have you ever tried to explain your life story to a friend or coworker? Over the years, I’ve found that looking over my shoulder always makes more sense than peering down the road. When we look forward, it’s like trying to see around a bend in the path. We may have a sense of where we’re supposed to be heading, but we can’t quite see it. It’s impossible to decipher.
Mysteriously, and I think mercifully, when we look back at all the places we’ve been, that formerly-winding road seems to become much more linear. The way God directs our steps often feels awkward or at times uncertain, but hindsight always reveals His careful planning.
Joseph knew God’s promises were true. Even when his path seemed unsure, Joseph was able to cling to those promises and know that God was with him. As we seek to follow God, there will inevitably be seasons where we feel like we’re stuck in a pit; there is no place we can go and nothing we can do. Our best bet in these moments is to look over our shoulder to see the faithfulness of God in our lives and in the lives of His people.
What looks like a dead end now will most likely be a turning point in our story. Sometimes all we can do is cling to that hope and press on. We may not know the end of the story, but we are lead by Someone who does; and that Someone is with us. Always.
Written By Andrew Stoddard