Has your life gone according to plan?

Many of us have a vision of what our lives will look like in the future. Experience tells us that our lives rarely stick according to plan.

My life today hardly resembles that life I thought I would have when I was younger.

You know what? 

I wouldn’t exchange the life I have now for that previous vision for my life. The circumstances of my life tell me that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

When it comes to life one thing that we can count on is life is unpredictable.

On the one hand this is a scary thought because it reminds us that much of life is outside of our control. On the other hand this is how our faith is strengthened. Having a life outside of our control forces us to learn to trust God through the ups and downs of life.

There is a side of us that would like to believe that because we have faith in Jesus then our lives will be easy and good. We may not actually voice it, but there are times when we believe that God should protect us from the bad things that happen in life.

Sadly, that is not one of the promises of the Bible.

The reality is that following Jesus often brings hardships and pain, because the enemy wants to prevent us from living the abundant life that Jesus promised his followers.

On top of that, our dreams, the dreams we created before we knew Jesus or when our faith was young, often get in the way of where Jesus is leading us. These dreams actually become the obstacles that get in our way of experiencing the life that God created us to live

A frustrating aspect of this process is that God doesn’t treat us all the same.

For some God allows great tragedy into their lives in order to prepare them for what lies ahead. Others will have constant obstacles thrown into their paths which will teach them endurance and trust. Still others will seem to have a life of constant success and ease.

When we compare our lives to the lives of those around us will begin to feel like God is being unfair. This feeling will raise its ugly head because God doesn’t treat us the same. There is no blueprint that God follows to direct the lives of each person. Instead, God uses the unique circumstances of our lives to mold us into the people He wants us to be.

Think about Joseph, the son of Jacob, for a minute. (The story of Joseph is found in Genesis 37-50) In the life of Joseph we can see how unfair the circumstances of his life were.

Joseph experienced slavery and false imprisonment in a foreign land while his brothers enjoyed freedom in their homeland.

How can that be fair?

Yet, what we discover on the other side of these experiences, when famine hits and Joseph’s family came to Egypt for help, things had changed. The people were effected by their circumstances.

Part of the reality is that Joseph’s brothers did not have an easy life at home because of their guilt for selling Joseph into slavery.Their guilt softened their hearts.

Even though Joseph went through very difficult circumstances, he was now second-in-command in Egypt. God continued to work in the life of Joseph so he could be in the right position to help people. Being a slave and then a prisoner didn’t make sense to Joseph at the time, but even through those evil circumstances God worked  for good in the life of Joseph.

Things will not always make sense, but we must trust that God will do what is right.

What does that look like?

It looks like doing the next right thing.

When the future is bleak and we don’t know how we will ever come out of the hell hole we find ourselves in, all we can do is the right thing that is right in front of us.

This is the secret to abundant living that we learn from Joseph’s life. Joseph proved himself to be trustworthy and a man of godly character in the bleakest of circumstances.  Why?

He did the next right thing.

This is what God requires of us no matter what the circumstances we have in our lives.

When we remain faithful, in even the toughest of circumstances, God is able to use those circumstances to move us closer to abundant life. What we discover in this process of trusting God is that the life that God has for us is far superior to the life that we thought we wanted.

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