The Lord sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. Ps. 105.17
If you’re not familiar with the story of Joseph, it is worth the read, one of the most captivating stories in the Bible (see Gen. 37-46). In short, he was the 11th out of 12 brothers and clearly his father’s favorite. His brothers grew quite jealous of their special brother, faked his death, and sold him as a slave to a caravan headed to Egypt. Nice. Once there, things initially looked like they were improving for Joseph, until he wound up unjustly (and indefinitely) imprisoned. Turns out, God sent Joseph to Egypt in order to save that entire nation and his own (large) family from starvation in a 7 year long famine. And the mode of transportation God arranged for Joseph was a slave caravan. And the lodging God prepared for Joseph was a jail cell. Things worked out quite well for Joseph in the end and for all who were touched by his work. Joseph later tells his (guilt ridden) brothers that the whole thing was God’s design to save many. This Psalm tells us, “until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Funny how our paths can seem so random at times and yet completely fit with who we are and who we are becoming. If you are in the pit/slave caravan/jail phases of your journey, don’t despair. They are as much a part of your path as the dreams God has given you. Tests forge character, preparing you for what God has for you. All the random, loose ends of your life are neither random nor loose, they have been set in your path on purpose. Accept the Lord’s transportation and lodging, however he chooses to send it. Be as faithful as you can (as Joseph was as a slave and inmate) where you are, doing all like you’re doing it for Jesus himself (because you are), and try to enjoy the ride. Reflect this week on what it might have felt like to be sent via slave caravan and how the random (especially negative) experiences in your life might be part of God’s sending you for a great purpose.