We would sometimes take that hike down to the ocean with our daughter, and every time we would get a message from our wireless carrier on our cell phones that would say:
"any voice or data use will incur out of country roaming charges."
What was so interesting is that Canada was across the water about 30 nautical miles away. We would always laugh because we would be standing on US soil, in Washington State, looking at the ocean and yet our cell phone company would tell us we were standing in another country. I mean, I love the Great White North and all those Canadians? Hey- they got class.
Each time I would read that text from the wireless company about the roaming, I felt like it was saying to us;
"you aren't where you think you are. You are HERE."
There's this story in the Old Testament. It's in this book called Genesis. In that book there's this beautiful story about Joseph, the son of Jacob, the patriarch of God's chosen people. His story starts as a tragic story. Joseph's brothers become vehemently jealous of him and they kidnap him and sell him into slavery to slave traders from the land of Egypt.
When Joseph gets to Egypt, it's written, "The Lord was with Joseph and he succeeded in all that he as he served in the home of his Egyptian master." It is continually written that Joseph eventually gains favor in the eyes of his slave master and becomes in charge of all the affairs of the household.
Eventually the wife of the slave master accuses Joseph of a horrific crime and he gets placed into prison. Here's what is written about Joseph again, "But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed."
After Joseph is in prison for quite sometime, the Pharaoh starts to have these confusing dreams He hears from one of his servants of a man who is in prison who had once given him advice on his dreams. Pharaoh sends for Joseph to analyse his dreams, to which Joseph responded, "It's beyond my power to do this, but God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”. Pharaoh shares his dream and Joseph reveals to Pharaoh what God is going to cause to happen to Egypt: a great famine followed by time of prosperity for the country. Joseph continues to say that God suggests that Pharaoh put a wise and intelligent man in charge of all of the land in Egypt to prepare for the famine.
What happens next is the unbelievable: the Pharaoh becomes astonished at what he's heard and says to Joseph:
“Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
Joseph goes from a brother sold into slavery, a slave who becomes a prisoner, to a prisoner who becomes the second in command of rule in Egypt. God had brought him from a land that he knew and placed him (drop-pin...you are HERE) into a land he didn't know. Not only did Joseph work hard as a slave, prisoner and eventual governor of Egypt, the Word never once says that Joseph was dejected in his situation of being in a foreign land or taken from his family.
It does continually say;
"God showed him favor..."
Joesph wasn't where he was to begin with.
But he was where God wanted him to be.
For a purpose.
After the famine hits the land and the surrounding areas, Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt for respite and for food. At first Joseph withholds who he truly is, to the point of using an interpreter to speak to them in Hebrew. After he tests his brothers to see what they really stand for, he sees that they are humbled from the time when they had sold Joseph into slavery. Joseph then shares his true identity--
“I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you!"
Joseph knew from the start of his story that God brought him to where he was for a purpose. He never once lost sight of that. Despite his setbacks, despite his circumstances. Despite people hurting him, lying about him, forgetting about him. At each moment in his story, in the good or bad, Joseph lives fully where he is at.
Joseph never lost sight when he was placed in that powerful position by the ruler of Egypt. Where he could have used ego and intimidation as a device to reduce his brothers to shame; he used compassion, kindness and faith. He knew why God had placed him in Egypt and never lost sight that God was ultimately at work in his life and those around him.
Living fully where he is at.
After Jacob, the father of all the brothers and Joseph, died; the brothers started to let fear creep in to their heart. The brothers were afraid the worse would happen to them once their father was gone. So they sent word to Joseph begging to pardon them from the horror they caused him many years before, selling him into slavery. Joseph responds with this--
“Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.”
Again-- Joseph never looses sight of his purpose.
He voices a reminder that God brought him directly to where he was supposed to be.
From start to finish.
I'm reminded myself every time I read Joseph's story of how God brings favor to those He loves. He brings us to the very place He wants us to be. When I read his story I see how Joseph sees the silver lining in all of his circumstances. He sees hope. He sees God at work in his life. No matter what happens.
When life happens, it really and truly doesn't just HAPPEN. There is so much more at work and in your favor that you can even imagine. There is so much more of a design for your life than you could even dream.
God has brought you HERE. To where you are. To live fully where you are at.