“Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’” John 13:7 (NLT)
My husband, Steve, and I met at a Bible study while we were in college. There he sat with a Bible in his lap, Jesus in his heart and me wrapped around his little finger. Three months later, we were engaged. Six months after that, I became his wife.
The following year, we began to pray where we would live and work after graduation. We prayed. We fasted. We toured various towns and looked at many opportunities. After several months, we felt certain God was calling us to a little town called Pineville, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, where my husband had secured a job.
After graduation, we moved to Charlotte and set up house in a tiny apartment near the office where Steve would be working. The rent was half-price for the first three months, which was a huge bonus for a young couple with nothing but school debt on their balance sheet. Smiles all around.
However, when Steve went to the office to finalize his work schedule and management particulars, a trapdoor opened beneath his feet.
“Steve, I’ve been thinking about it,” the potential partner began. “I don’t think this is such a good idea after all. I’ve changed my mind.”
He extended his hand to my stunned 25-year-old husband and said, “Good luck to you, son.”
When Steve came home and told me the news, we were both shell-shocked. “What do you mean he changed his mind?” I cried. “He can’t do that! We’ve just moved here. He made a commitment!”
A host of raw emotions collided with real questions for God. How could we have been so wrong? Didn’t we hear You correctly? We prayed. We fasted. We wanted nothing more than to do what You wanted us to do where You wanted us to do it. Now, here we sit in a new city, with debt, no jobs and seemingly no future. What are we supposed to do?
I did not like this story! I felt like God had left us high and dry. But He hadn’t. He was simply moving the puzzle pieces into place for His perfect plan.
I think young Joseph, whose story begins in Genesis 37, must have felt the same way. God had given him two dreams about how his whole family would one day bow down to him. He was going to be a man of power. However, over the next several years, he was sold into slavery by his brothers, worked as a servant in the government official Potiphar’s household, falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison.
I don’t know what Joseph was thinking or feeling, but my reaction would have been, This is not how the story is supposed to go! God, where are You? Get me out of here!
But at just the right time, the Pharaoh had a dream only Joseph could interpret — seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph second-in-command of the entire kingdom, and he saved the entire nation from starvation.
Yes, Joseph’s life had taken some seemingly wrong turns, but they weren’t wrong turns at all. They were necessary turns to get him to just the right place at just the right time.
Our limited vision doesn’t allow us to see how God is working behind the questionable scenes in our lives, but we can trust He is. In fact, it may be precisely in the moments we understand Him the least that He is working the most.
Jesus told His disciples, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will” (John 13:7). Sometimes, it is only after the fact that what we thought were setbacks were God’s setups all along.
Three months after the devastating news that Steve’s job fell through, a position opened up that had not been available when we were first looking. If we had written out our best-case scenario, this situation would have exceeded it by far. We were living out Ephesians 3:20, “[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV).
And remember the rent that was half-price for the first three months? It was three months to the day when Steve started in his new position. Who knew? God did. We often experience God’s provision and protection through the twists and turns of uncertainty. Sometimes, God doesn’t meet our expectations because He wants to exceed them.
I don’t know what you’re going through right now. This past year has certainly been a difficult year for all of us. But rest assured, God is working for your greater good. When we give up our need to know all the details, we can have a holy confidence independent of our circumstances.
God, I’ll be honest: I’m glad 2020 is coming to a close. And even though I don’t know what’s coming in 2021, I trust that You have a perfect plan. In a world of uncertainties, I am thankful Your steadfast love never changes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
John 5:17, “But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.’” (NLT)
Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. Let 2021 be the year you turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories. Sharon Jaynes’ book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, will be available January 26. Preorder your copy here by January 25 and receive bonus gifts with your purchase.
Click here for a printable download of 10 verses to assure you God is always working in your behind-the-scenes.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What is one situation where you discovered later that God was working behind-the-scenes? Tell us about it in the comments today!
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
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