Have you ever felt stuck in growth, in progress, or just in life? You think, “God, I could do so much more if You would just move me.” What we fail to realize though is the reason you aren’t being moved is because you’ve been planted.
A few weeks ago, I shared my struggle with feeling stuck and how God has used gentle reminders to keep me moving forward. Today, I listened to a sermon from my pastor, Willie George, at Church on the Move. It was funny because the sermon series is entitled, We Can’t Stay Here, and addresses how we can’t get comfortable where we are as opposed to feeling trapped where we are. Nevertheless, God used the message to reiterate a point:
Every stage of life is preparing you for the next phase. So no matter if you’re content where you are or if you’re feeling unsettled and eager to move, it’s all a part of the process. Your level of contentment isn’t relevant. You still can’t rush it.
Take Joseph for instance. Joseph had everything going for him. He was the first-born son of Rachel, whom his father loved dearly, and was favored over his siblings. He was handsome and wise beyond his years. God even gave Joseph dreams which promised he would one day have an important and influential future.
Do you think Joseph ever imagined he’d one day be sold into slavery by his own brothers? He was just seventeen years old when the happy life he’d always known was turned upside down. He went from being loved and doted on to being Potiphar’s slave in Egypt.
But Genesis 39:2-4 says: The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.
We can’t possibly know if Joseph wondered or even asked God, “Why me? After everything You showed me, how did I end up here?” But we do know that despite this seeming betrayal by his own family, God used Joseph’s faith to grow him into the man he needed to be to fulfill God’s purpose. In fact, God used everything during that process to prepare Joseph mentally and spiritually. God was so present in Joseph’s life that Genesis 39:5 says even Potiphar and his house were blessed.
Think about that: God’s favor was so present on Joseph’s life that it rippled out to a pagan-worshipper and his household. That’s the kind faith I want to have, the kind that is so strong even those around me reap the benefit.
For all Joseph knew, he was on his way. This was it, the dream God had shown him in his youth. I expect he was hopeful in his new position … until Potiphar’s wife went lusty and tried to seduce Joseph, that is. Being a man of integrity, Joe said “no”, but that didn’t stop the scorned would-be-adulteress from waging war against him.
Sadly, Joseph found himself suffering on the receiving end of a lie. He took the high road, but man kicked him in the teeth regardless. Does that sound at all familiar? Have you ever been accused of something you had no part in only to have everyone so easily believe the lie?
Fortunately (or perhaps in the moment, unfortunately) Joseph had been down this road before. Did that mean he didn’t feel hurt, betrayed, or disappointed? I highly doubt it. He was human just like we are. I imagine the level of hope he had for his future, serving Pharoah’s second in command, was quickly dashed.
But Joseph knew God was with him when he was sold into slavery. He knew God blessed him as he faithfully served Potiphar. So Joseph kept the faith that God would see him through, even though what might have seemed like his future just vaporized like smoke in the wind.
Genesis goes on to tell us that because Joseph’s faith never faltered, God used him where he was every step of the journey: as a son in his father’s home, as an attendant in his master’s house, as a keeper in the Egyptian prison, and as an advisor to the most powerful man in Egypt. God blessed Joseph so abundantly, both in the natural and spiritually, that he was able to care for himself, his family, and an entire nation.
So take heart when you feel stuck or like you can’t do anything from where you are. The only thing God requires to change the world is faith in Him and the will to grow wherever He plants you.