Dr. Randy Carlson
Joseph’s life, told in Genesis, is a reminder that life can be really tough and can make no sense at times. Yet, he chose to be intentional, and even had the insight to see that what his brothers had meant for evil and harm to him, God intended for good to save many people.
Joseph was dropped into the pit, taken into captivity, mistreated, wrongfully accused, put into prison, neglected and left there to die. He had every reason to think life made no sense. Joseph was intentional, even when life made no sense. When he was in prison, he was very intentional with his life. After many long and difficult opportunities, the tables turned and his brothers who had sold him into slavery came to him to ask for help.
With his brothers standing in front of him and fearful for their lives, Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” (Note that powerful statement.) He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” That’s Intentional Living!
This is the point when many people reject God because it just doesn’t make any sense. But Joseph was intentional in five ways that I think are important for us to consider.
- Don’t get stuck.
Joseph made the decision of how he was going to live his life. He chose to trust God in the pit, in front of Potiphar’s wife and while in jail. No matter what he faced, he refused to become stuck.
- Honor your family, even if they don’t honor you.
His brothers kicked Joseph squarely in the teeth, and he honored them. He had every reason to follow the principles of boundaries. He could have said, “I’m putting boundaries in place, and you go starve where you are.” Yet, he opened his heart and his life and cared for them.
In our family relationships, it’s easy sometimes to write people off as the people who have hurt us. We need to have boundaries in place, but we need to still have a sense of honor, care and concern for people, including those who may have wronged us.
Forgiveness is hard to do when we’ve been in stuck moments in life where it’s easy for us to blame others for things that have happened. But Joseph was willing to truly forgive.
- Accept there is a bigger plan at work in your life.
We often see life through little lenses, and if we study scripture, we can understand we are part of something much bigger. God loves us, but He has a plan in place that I’m a piece of and you’re a piece of. As we understand we are playing a part God has for us, that allows us to get above it, and not see everything through our own lens.
The Bible says, “For all things work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Joseph had good things come out of this, because he was called according to God’s purpose. He was right in the place where God wanted him to be. Many times, bad things happen to us, because we have messed up.
When life makes no sense, you have to ask the question, “Does it make no sense because I put myself here, or does God have something bigger and better going on than I don’t quite understand? Am I in the middle of His purpose?” When we’re in the middle of God’s purpose, then life can start to make sense even when it does not on the outside.
Joseph not only forgave his brothers, but then he acted. He took care of his brothers and their families. That’s taking what we say we believe and acting on it every day.
Whatever you are going through, we love you and want the best for you. The decisions you make are going to make a difference. What you do next will impact what happens next. That’s why there is so much power in doing the next right one thing. I pray you will choose to be obedient to what scripture teaches and submit to the fact that God may have something going on that is bigger than you can imagine.
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