Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
As Athletes it may seem like you are often on a roller-coaster ride. Because of the nature of competitive sports (which necessarily involve winning and losing) there are highs and there are lows. Some of those lows may be unjustified and painful and difficult to figure out. In these times it is good and critical to remember that God sees much more than you can see today. God intends to build godly leaders and He know that leaders are formed in the trials, not the triumph.
Life sometimes deals you blows that are difficult to understand at the time. It seems like the world crashes in around you. God seems very distant and often your mind is filled with doubt and despair. When reading the story of Joseph, I have often wondered how he had felt at various stages in his life as his world crashed around him – usually through no fault of his own.
Genesis 37-48 tells the story of Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob. Jacob had a special bond with Joseph and treated him differently than his eleven brothers which included giving Joseph a multicolored jacket. Out of jealousy of Joseph’s special treatment, and anger over a dream Joseph shared, his brothers threw him in a pit in the desert and then sold him into slavery. Joseph made his way to Egypt where, at the age of 17, he was sold to Potiphar (assistant to the Pharoah of Egypt). For 13 years Joseph worked his way up to finally lead Potiphar’s house only to be unfairly thrown in prison after he resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife.
In prison, Joseph once again worked diligently and soon the warden put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. The Pharaoh`s cupbearer spent time in prison and Joseph helped him interpret a dream from God. The cupbearer was appreciative, so Joseph asked him not to forget what he did. Unfortunately, Joseph spent two more years in jail before the cupbearer remembered and mentioned him to the Pharoah.
Joseph was eventually freed and correctly interpreted Pharoah’s dream predicting a drought and famine. Joseph was promoted to the position as Pharoah’s his right-hand man and he stockpiled grain to make it through the lean years. Joseph’s brothers ended up coming to Egypt for food and ultimately his family. Joseph’s family and thereafter the entire line of Jacob, whose descendants included King David and even Jesus, were saved by this series of events.
I imagine there were multiple times in Joseph`s life where he questioned God. It must have been especially hard the second time he was knocked down. His life crashed around him due to no fault of his own, but each time he picked himself up, raised his eyes to God and carried on. Joseph didn’t become a leader in Potipher’s home or on Pharoah’s throne, he became a leader in the desert hole and in his jailhouse role.
Are you facing some Joseph-like challenges? Keep in mind that you don’t know the end of your story. Walk in faith through your challenges recognizing that God has good plans for you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Choose to lean on God and stand up, once again.