“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
In Genesis 37, a teenage boy steps onto the pages of biblical history walking the sandy paths and dusty fields of ancient rural sheep herders. A few decades would see this handsome young man become one of the most powerful men in the world, but for now, the sheep would have to do. Like most truly large human stories, Joseph’s actually started out quite small. No one, including Joseph, could have imagined what next would look like by looking at his now.
Although the sheep held little promise for future glory, they were the most friendly creatures in his life since his explosively angry brothers treated him with utter disdain. Their hatred was born out of Joseph’s lofty standing with their father who heaped his love and favoritism on the boy. This disfunction would soon unleash it’s devastating fury on him as he would be attacked, almost killed, and then sold by his own brothers into Egyptian slavery.
If you know Joseph’s story, you know that what seems like a bad ending is actually a sovereignly designed beginning. God is actually clearing the path of Joseph’s future with the blade of the evil actions of these wicked men. Yes, God can make all things ultimately good for those who follow Him. And there enlies the point. God made a path for Joseph because Joseph did a few crucial things, even as a young man. He trusted, humbled himself, obeyed and left the outcomes in God’s hands. Joseph shows us that our obedience now is the key that opens the door to next.
While not having a clue about where his path would take him, Joseph chose to be immediately faithful to God. He trusted God, even when it didn’t make much sense. He did not lean on his own understanding, since the only thing he could see was his less than stellar situation. He believed God could see more. He obeyed his heavenly father and his earthly father as a young man should. This display of active faith in his young life opened the doors to Joseph’s amazing God empowered journey. He focused on faithfulness to God in his “now” and simply trusted God for his “next” modeling for us a God led life. What looked at times like a mess confusing mess of a life would end up being a stunningly straight line from the pit to the palace. This is how God worked and it’s still how he works. He is unchanging. Joseph’s God is our God! He still makes straight paths for people who will trust and obey Him. What if your next is depending on your obedience and surrender now? What if the best part of your story actually awaits you in your next chapter. Trust God, obey Him, and watch what He does NEXT.