Summary: A look at the Unexpected Journey that God sent Joseph on.
7 “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45 - NIV)
The Big Idea: Your Unexpected Journey with God tells a story.
Everyone is influenced by their life story. Simply put, people take their passion and priorities from their life stories. Everyone has a life story. It has been forming since the days of our youth. Early in life, God is at work in believers and seekers to reveal the beginnings of this life story - or Unexpected Journey.
Your life story is really about how God reveals His grace through your life. All of us are shaped in a profound way by a life story framework or outline. We often take our personal and professional cues in life from these past events.
Your Unexpected Journey tells a story. Stories are meaningful; facts are forgotten. Stories are memorable; emotions fade. Stories are mesmerizing; lists are boring. It is an amazing story of God at work in your life. Others want to hear it. You need to tell it. God wants to use it!
People think in stories. What do you think of when I say, "He is a Jonah?" or "this basketball game is a David versus Goliath." And no woman wants to be called a Jezebel.
Why don't people make the connection between their Unexpected Journey and their life story? Because so many lack introspection and perspective. We should put our lives out there for evaluation, but let's put it on the real – that's scary business. It can be threatening. Mark my words:
All of us drift/get off purpose – We get off purpose when it becomes about us instead of about God. What should I do with my life? What should I be when I grow up? What are my dreams, goals and ambitions? You were made by God for His purposes.
All of us drone – We drone on and on about things that really don't matter for the kingdom. Analyze what is happening in your life today, and ask yourself this question: Will your current problem or concern really matter in 10 years? In 100 years? In 1,000 years?
All of us dramatize – We like to be on stage. Friend, there is only one name on the marquee of life, and it’s not any of ours. You were made for God, not vice versa. Life is about God using you to tell a story. Your story about His grace at work. How you met God. What lessons you have learned in the journey. How God is surfacing your passions and using them for His purposes.
As novelist John Barth said, “The story of your life is not your life. It is your story.” Basically, it is your story that matters, not the facts of your life. 1
When you see God's story for your life as He sees it, then your Unexpected Journey makes sense. And the benefit? You can relax. You can accept yourself. You can have fun!
So you are on this Unexpected Journey. You will be telling others about what you experienced, where you went, who you met and what you learned about yourself and God. God is in the editing business. God is into brevity. He uses the delete key often. He wants your story to be riveting, so let's do some editing. In the editing of your life, let me suggest a framework for your life story. The framework for your life story: your story is a trust; your story is a test; and your story is a temporary assignment.
Joseph's life story is clearly told using this framework and outline.
1. Your Unexpected Journey with God is a trust.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. 5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. (Genesis 37 – NIV)
Ellen Breyer married after college and soon became a corporate leader in the marketing department for Godiva Chocolate. It was her husband’s promotions at American Express that moved her to London, New York and finally to Minneapolis. Along the way, she raised three boys. “I was spending a lot of time on nonprofit volunteer activities and enjoying that more than my day job.” she said. While skiing in Aspen one winter she thought about what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.