Thankful: God is in control

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt. And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life…God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”

– Genesis 45:4-5, 7

Today, I am thankful that God is in control.

There are no surprises to God. He knows our future and the events that will take place to shape us into the people He created us to be. He weaves our lives together, and His plan extends from before time through eternity. God is in control, and He has an intricate plan to hold us and move us through any crisis.

The book of Genesis closes with the story of the life of Joseph. God gave¬†Joseph¬†the strength to endure extremely difficult circumstances. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold to Midianite traders. He became a slave of the captain of Pharaoh’s guard in Egypt. Joseph was falsely accused of rape and then thrown into prison. He helped two of Pharaoh’s servants while there, interpreting their dreams, but then was forgotten. All together, Joseph was a slave and then prisoner for 13 years.

Despite the heartbreak, loneliness, sorrow and surrounding darkness, Joseph clung to His faith in God. He doggedly grasped the hope given to him in a boyhood dream, that God would elevate him as the leader of his family. Scripture tells us that God was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2-6, 21-23). When he was Potiphar’s slave, God blessed Joseph, and he was put in charge of the entire household. When Joseph was in prison, God granted him favor, and Joseph was given responsibility over all the prisoners. God never left, in the midst of crisis. God had Joseph right where he needed to be.

God eventually delivered Joseph and made him second in command of the most powerful country in the world. Directed by God, Joseph carried out a plan to save an entire nation from a devastating famine. So terrible was the drought that his brothers came from far away to buy food. Joseph’s dream came true as his brothers bowed low before him, not knowing that they were in the presence of the boy they had horrifically abandoned years earlier. God’s plan was even bigger than Joseph’s dream. He brought faithful Joseph through the dungeon to dominance in order to save God’s chosen people, secure His covenant promise with Abraham, and rescue countless people from starvation. Later, God would bring Joseph’s descendants, and the Hebrew people, out of Egypt in such a miraculous way that the entire world, from then until now, would be reminded that God is the One True God and there is no one mightier and greater than He.

Like Joseph, we won’t always understand when crisis comes and burdens hammer at our hearts. We may become dizzy as life spins around us and trip when the darkness closes in. But, we do not have to be defeated. The Almighty King of Kings is with us, and He has a plan. We must choose to trust Him when we cannot see the end of our story. Our God is in control.

Thankful: God made me

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

– Psalm 139:13-16

Today, I am thankful that God made me.

Before there were ultrasounds, God gave David understanding of the first moments of life, recorded in these verses. God saw me when I was formless. He created my body, and started my heart beating and pumping blood. He shaped my bones and organs, and knit me together. God was there from my first moment. He knew me from the very beginning. I was never alone. God was with me.

Every life is precious, because God forms each person in His image. God is present for every aspect of creation. God’s fingers shape each child, and He watches over them as they sleep and play and grow in the womb. Is God’s voice the first I heard inside my mother? Did God sing me to sleep in utero, and wake me up with a tender kiss on the forehead?

God had dreamed of me before I came to be. He saw my life and planned my days. God dreamed of how I would fit into His Kingdom, and how He longed for me to know Him just as intimately as He knew me. My life isn’t random events smashed together in a span of time. God thoughtfully designed the opportunities I would have to serve Him, the people who I would share my life with, and the trials He would walk with me through. He knew my beginning, and He knows my end, and I can trust Him every day in between.