Following God is Dangerous
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:41
Even after nine years of recovery, I still find that I daily struggle with my will against God’s. Even after all he’s done for me, I still want to follow my way. I know how I think my life should go but I continually rediscover this truth – My plans are not God’s plans. For instance, if I’m having a busy day in Urgent Care, where I see a lot of minor illnesses, I think that I should be able to move quickly, get my work done, and go home. God though, usually has other plans. During the frenetic pace of my day, I’ll often meet a patient who appears to have a substance use disorder. That’s not what he’s there for – he’s there for his cough – but I can see the meth problem and I can sense God tugging at me – Ask him about it. But I need to keep moving. There’s a long waiting line. I’m already behind. This just isn’t a good time for me God.
Here’s the thing though, I know by now that whether I follow God in that one decision (or not) profoundly alters my future. I can refuse God, following me. It’s my choice. In following my way in that one decision though, I affect my future decisions, fostering a pattern of following self. It was following me after all, that led to the disaster of my drug addiction. Alternatively, if I’m obedient to God in that one decision, he’ll take me places (like working in jail) that I never thought I’d go. My life of following God is far more joy-filled than the life of following me, but God always takes me off the course that I’ve planned. His plans are not my plans and following God is dangerous.
Joseph discovered this truth. I doubt that Joseph’s life plan included being sold into Egyptian slavery. Yet Joseph obeyed God and God took him places he never thought he’d go. In today’s passage, we see that in his obedience, Joseph was raised to a position of great power in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. This wasn’t Joseph’s plan, but in following God, God accomplished amazing things through Joseph.
We may never go to Egypt, but we find ourselves in a similar position. If we desire, we can follow our plan. In doing so, we will predictably find futility and misery. God created us to know true joy and peace only in following him. So, alternatively, we can choose to daily follow God’s plan. Yes, this is dangerous. He will take us places we never thought we’d go. In following him however, we’ll also know a joy and peace we could never find in following ourselves. Following God may be dangerous to our plans, but what better choice do we have?