Rachel’s post yesterday has really got me thinking. Seriously. After I read her thoughtful post, I was stirred and pondered the theme of God’s “bigness” (I just made that up) in my own life throughout the remainder of the day.
There have been so many times when my my own story of carelessness or act of foolishness became fertile ground for God’s activity. I just stood back in sheer stunned disbelief that He could bring anything good out of the parts of my life that I’m not too proud of. (And Lord knows there are many.)
Reminds me of several Biblical characters that saw this in their own lives:
Moses – He was a murderer, you know? He killed an Egyptian soldier that he saw abusing one of his Hebrew countrymen. He flew into a fit of rage and before he could gain his composure, there was a dead body laying on the ground in front of him. He buried it. . . or so he thought. Someone had seen him and when Pharoah found out, he was set to be executed. On the run for his life, he had to leave behind his position as the prince of Egypt and the palace of comforts that had been a regular part of his life. He headed for the dessert and there, he tended sheep – a job beneath his pay grade and his educational level. Day in and day out, he wandered aimlessly, coping with the consequences of his sin. And yet . . . that’s where God met him in a burning bush, spoke to him clearly and gave him a brand new life mission – to tend another flock; a human one. And right there, in the midst of the consequences of sin, a deliverer for God’s chosen people was raised up.
Then there was Jonah. He was a hypocrite, you know. He was the mouthpiece for God to Israel. As a highly respected prophet, he shared God’s Word with others and fully expected that they would take it seriously when he did. Yet, he didn’t quite know how to meet his own expectations, ‘cause when God’s word came to him with clear instructions to go to the brutal Ninevites with a invitation to share in God’s mercy, he hightailed it out of town and away from God. (Sidebar: It’s always easier to serve God in an advisory capacity.) He was the only prophet in all of Scripture to run from God. Jonah boarded a ship to Tarshish that was under the control of some pagan Phonecian sailors and polytheistic crew members, who each called to their own god when that fierce storm arose. But the winds were not swayed and the rains did not cease . . . that is until Jonah called on Yaweh. And when those unbelieving men saw the peace that came over those waters, they dropped to their knees and called out to the God of Israel, too. strongSalvation came to them . . . all because of the rebellion of one man on the run.
Joseph’s brothers. They were filled with jealously and envy, you know? They coveted their brother’s favored position in the family and had an ax to grind; and they sure planned to. The plot was to kill him – until a caravan of Egyptian travelers came by. Then they just decided to sell him off. At least then, he wouldn’t be a bother anymore. Can you imagine how Joseph felt that day; young, tender, trusting, looking up to his older brothers that were sending him away. Betrayed.
That’s how he felt. And yet, the greatest betrayal of his life would become the most amazing blessing for his entire family. For years later when famine struck Israel and everyone had to flee to Egypt for nourishment, Joseph was the one who had risen in the ranks in the land, and was the head of the food storage for the entire region. His brothers didn’t even recognize him when they stood before him, begging for food. They didn’t even know the eyes looking down at them and the hands outstretched to them, were those of the brother they’d so heartlessly denied. When Joseph finally revealed himself, how overwhelmed and grateful they must have been to discover that even their worst evil couldn’t tamper with the best laid plans of God. For had they not done what they had, Joseph would never have been in position to bless others.
AHHHH . . . hear that again – . . .”even their worst evil couldn’t tamper with the best laid plans of God.”
Yours and mine can’t either, you know?
And I sure am glad.