I’ll Go Be a Missionary Someday . . .

I’ll Go Be a Missionary Someday . . .

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Genesis 39:21

I often have my idea of how I think my life should go and then, years later, I’ve got to look back and smile because I simply had no clue. When we moved to West Central Minnesota 20 years ago, we were going to stay for three years and then move to the Southwest. Then, our kids started school, we grew roots, and now this is home. When I began my career, I thought maybe I’d use my medical degree to do God’s work someday, doing missions in some far-off land, but I had medical loans I had to pay off and so, I went to work here. I had no idea that I’d go through my own addiction and that my addiction would radically alter my career path, taking me into addiction and correctional medicine. It turns out, I didn’t have to go to Africa to do God’s work. He brought my mission field to me. I eventually got around to doing God’s work. It’s just not been anything like what I imagined it would be. I don’t know the future, but in recovery now, I daily attempt to follow the one who does.

Joseph must have felt something similar. Growing up, he had two prophetic dreams, both of which revealed that his brothers would one day bow before him. I imagine Joseph looked forward to a successful, charmed life. Instead, he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. As an Egyptian slave, he was falsely accused of sexual assault and imprisoned. At this point, Joseph had to have some questions for God. How do you think your plan is your plan going? It seems to have gone a little sideways. Still, the passage says that God was with Joseph, blessing everything he did, so that he was eventually put in charge of his own prison. If you know the end of the story, you know that Joseph’s childhood prophecies eventually came true, but the route by which he got there was like nothing he could have possibly imagined.

Most of us think we know how our lives should go. God though, often has very different plans. When life doesn’t go our way, we feel out of control and that perhaps God has abandoned us. At this point, we can do one of two things. We can go our way, attempting to enforce our will on the world. Or we can follow God, seeking his will for our lives. Our way means futility and misery. God’s way means life, joy, and peace, no matter what our circumstances. As always, the choice is ours.

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