“I was born to do gymnastics!” These were the words spoken by my daughter the week we enrolled her in a full gymnastics facility. She especially loved working on the bars and beams, and showed real talent. I will never forget watching her effortlessly and fearlessly climb the rope up to the ceiling and back down on her first try. A few months later, we were forced to pull her and relocate to a small, rural city for my husband’s job. Here there was no full gymnastics facility and my daughter was crushed. As a parent, you want your child to have every opportunity and to be able to live out their passion. I immediately began plotting and praying for an exit plan out of here.
Almost three years later, God still has us in this small, rural city. I can’t say that I am anymore satisfied with my surroundings. Of course, the mountains are a couple of hours away and there is a beauty to this area, but I am a suburb girl. So even though I have prayed for contentment in my surroundings, I miss the many opportunities and choices of living just outside of a large city. My daughter finally agreed to enroll in the local tumbling program. This wasn’t an easy decision for her as I suspect it felt like an act of surrender. She did not want to give up her dream of bars and beams, and even though she has amazing, supportive coaches, is on the competitive team, and practices in a brand-new tumbling facility there is still a loss felt by us both. Yet, it recently occurred to me that maybe we aren’t seeing the big picture here.
What if God placed us here to keep us from something or prepare us for something greater? Maybe our relocation is a protective measure or a step towards something better than we can even imagine?
Back in Genesis, chapters 37-50, we read the story of Joseph. Joseph was greatly favored by his father and as a result, his jealous brothers faked his death and sold him into slavery at the age of 17. He was carted off to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, an Egyptian guard. Potiphar treated Joseph exceptionally well until Potiphar’s wife made advances towards him. When Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife, she falsely accused him of making those advances towards her. From there, Joseph is thrown into prison where he remained for several years. Through a series of events, Joseph interprets a dream of Pharaoh’s. God reveals in this dream that there is going to be seven years of great abundance in the land of Egypt followed by seven years of great famine. The Lord gave instructions through this dream on how to manage the food so that there would be reserves in the time of famine. Pharaoh is so pleased with this interpretation that he not only releases Joseph from prison, but gives him control over his house and the land. So, at the age of 30 Joseph is given Pharaoh’s signet ring and made the second most powerful man in the land of Egypt. When the famine strikes, Joseph’s brothers are forced to travel to Egypt to buy some food. They end up appearing before Joseph although they do not recognize him. Through another series of events, Joseph provided food for the family, eventually revealed himself to his brothers and they are reconciled. When Pharaoh finds out about Joseph’s family, he tells Joseph to move them all to Egypt where he will give them the best of the land. Sometime after this Jacob, Joseph’s father, passes away. Joseph’s brothers become fearful that he may not have forgiven them for their past actions and may now seek revenge. When they approach Joseph, his response is profound and we finally get a glimpse into God’s purposes in this situation.
“But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people. Therefore, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:19-21 HCSB).
We may never know what God’s purpose is for our present situation. Sometimes it may feel like a loss or a great inconvenience, but maybe what our present situation needs is a different perspective. Perhaps we need to accept our circumstances and trust that God has our best interests in mind. Who knows what great things God has planned for us? In the meantime, let’s keep running with endurance the race that lies before us. (Hebrews 12:1).
Until next time
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