God Sent Me
In the last two years or so, my life has been a cauldron of change. Not least among the ingredients was a growing sense that it was time to leave my job. I’ve been in the same position for almost ten years, doing what I thought was good work. Over the last year, though, my ratings took a nosedive. What had once been acceptable, was no longer even close. It meant little, other than as a comfort, that those close to me continued to praise my work and character. My supervisors had decided I was failing and there seemed to be nothing I could do to change their collective mind. Indeed, there still isn’t.
I was hurt and confused. It felt like someone had changed the rules of the game without telling me. I tried to get an updated copy of the book, but couldn’t find one anywhere. Every store was sold out, and all they had left were heavy doses of evasion and empty platitudes. So, I tried to work out the new rules on my own. I worked harder than ever, but it made no difference. After much soul-searching, prayer, and counsel I came to the conclusion that this sudden change in fortune was no accident. You see, because of the way my contract is structured, I couldn’t be fired immediately. I could see very clearly, however, the track they were laying down, the case they were building, and it led straight out the door. The signs were too obvious to be anything other than a message. It was time to go.
In the months which followed that realization, I have often been swamped by waves of fear. The job market is not what it was this time last decade. I have a family, a house, a dog, and a cantankerous old truck counting on me. Am I a fool for walking out on a job instead of forcing them to fire me? It was into such speculative thoughts that God brought His story. On one particularly anxious night this week, I read these words: “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God….”
This is Joseph speaking to his brothers in Genesis 45. In saying what he said, he more than forgives them. He completely removes them from the situation. “It was not you who sent me here,” he says, “but God.” Even though they thought they were serving their own interests by beating him up, dropping him in a well, and selling him as a slave, they weren’t. God was at work in Joseph’s misery and without his knowledge. At the time, Joseph had to be a wreck. Physically and emotionally broken, he was taken from a situation he didn’t want to leave and forced into the unknown. Possessing all the power of Pharaoh wasn’t even a dream he knew to dream. Nevertheless, that’s where God was sending him, and for good reason. Joseph not only ends up saving the lives of his rather huge family, but of whole nations.
More than a month ago, for no apparent reason, I decided to start reading Genesis again, and on a night I needed it most, there was chapter 45, the next in line. It’s too convenient to be coincidence. While I don’t think I’m bound for quite the same heights as Joseph was, I can take hope from his story. For right now, I’m still down in the well, getting over the lumps I’ve taken. When Joseph could say the same, Egypt’s gilded halls were a long way off, but they were there nonetheless. It wasn’t Joseph’s plans that got him there, nor even his brothers’, it was God’s. From that dank hole, God sent him out. There’s a hope in that story that I’d be foolish to ignore because it means there’s hope in my story too. After all, it’s God who’s sending me. God and no one else.