I woke up on Saturday morning with a troubled spirit. I’m not sure what sparked it off but I suspect it was when I started brooding about how bad things were in my life (Note: NEVER allow those thoughts to come into your head first thing in the morning! I should have know better). Then I started going down the destructive road of self-blame.
If only I was a better pastor, if only I was a better father, if only I spent more time doing this or worked harder at that. THEN things would be better at church, in my family and in my life.
This wasn’t a good start to the day. So I made myself a cup of coffee. While drinking my coffee, I came across an article from Desiring God that drew my attention: Love the Life You Never Wanted. Hmmm, I thought to myself, this will be interesting. I began reading the opening paragraph:
Am I where I thought I would be at this age?
Have I achieved what I thought I would?
Are my dreams more or less real today?
Am I happy in my marriage, my family, my position at work?
Is my life successful?
I was immediately hooked. The author then asked me to reflect on the life of Joseph. The story of Joseph is a great riches to rags story (no, I didn’t get that the wrong way around). Joseph was Jacob’s prized son and life was going great for him, until his brothers threw him in a pit and sold him to slave-traders. He then ended up on the bottom of the slave pile in Potiphar’s house who promoted him to top-dog. Potiphar’s wife then made several attempts to seduce him, which failed. She got the pip, lied and did him in. So Joseph ended in prison – and in a worse state than he was before. Finally he ends up being Pharaoh’s right-hand man over all of Egypt (Joseph by the way, is a type of Jesus).
Yet through all of this we are told “The Lord was with Joseph” (Gen 39:2, 21, 23). In other words, the Lord was in it. He was in it all. And He was sovereign over it all. The path that Joseph took wasn’t his doing (ultimately). This was the path God had prepared for him. Like the path he had prepared for me. Then I read this:
“The reality is that all of us can imagine something better for ourselves than our circumstances today. The greater reality is that, if you love and follow Jesus, God always writes a better story for you than you would write for yourself. The “better” is based on this: God himself is the best, most satisfying thing you could ever have or experience, and, therefore, fullness of life is ultimately found not in any earthly success or relationship or accomplishment, but in your proximity to God through faith.
The dark side of this good news is that you may have to walk through pain, disappointment, rejection, and suffering for seventy or eighty years. The brighter (and prevailing) side says God never makes a mistake in choosing good for you. Everything you experience — expected or unexpected, wanted or unwanted, pleasing or painful — is God’s good plan to make you his own (John 10:27–29), to give you himself forever (Psalm 16:11), and to use your life to reveal himself and his glory to the world around you (Isaiah 43:25; 1 Corinthians 10:31).”
The dark shadows in my mind were receding. Heavenly light began to shine in my soul. These bad things weren’t happening because I was a failure. This is God’s chosen path for me. And He is doing something good and great in it.
It’s a wonderful thing when, in the midst of despondency and despair, you are given a heavenly perspective on things. I’m most thankful to Marshall Segal for taking the time to write this. It truly ministered to my soul when I was in need.
(You can view the original article here.)