Love the Life You Never Wanted
In reality, life is never defined by our performance or circumstances. What really makes any life worth living today is the presence and protection and pleasure of the almighty, all-satisfying God.
After being sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph surprisingly rose to power in perhaps the most powerful empire in the world.
The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. (Genesis 39:2–4)
Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything. But Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph and tried to seduce him. When he faithfully refused her advances, she framed him, claiming he had come to her. Her lies ripped him from all his power and responsibility and landed him in prison (Genesis 39:20). He committed no sin (at least not with Potiphar’s wife), neither was deceit found in his mouth, and yet he was treated as worse than a slave, locked away without hope of release.
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. . . . And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed. (Genesis 39:21–23)
Whether in power or in prison, Joseph’s life was hope-filled, meaningful, and successful, not because he worked so hard or received what he deserved, but because God was with him. The Lord was with him in success — and the Lord was with him in prison.
How Good Is Your Life?
Is the life you’re currently living the one you always wanted for yourself?
Did you think you’d be married by now? Or that you’d still be married? If you are married, did you marry when you thought you would, or whom you thought you would?
What about your job? Not what you hoped for? Do you feel like your gifts are being wasted? Do you dream about doing something different with your life?
Maybe you wish you were living somewhere else? You long to be closer to home (or farther away)?
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 Secret of Contentment
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