Hey there! How’s your life going? How about just today? Right now?
Is it well? Not-so-well? Terrible?
No matter your answer, I can promise you that you are not an accident. And, I can promise you that your life isn’t an accident. Even if you’ve had a lot of junk in your life, your life itself is not an accident.
A Biblical Example (Genesis 37, 39-45)
Look at the hardships Joseph faced. He’s the favored, youngest son of his parents. But his brothers (half-brothers, technically) hate his guts. So what do they do? Sell him into slavery and tell his parents that he was killed by a beast. Not good.
Joseph is sold to an officer of Pharaoh, and works super hard and is really honest. He does such an awesome job that the officer makes him an overseer of the house, and God blesses the officer because of Joseph. Then the officer’s wife tries to get Joseph to sleep with her. Despite the fact that Joseph resists, the officer’s wife claims to her husband that Joseph tried to force her, and Joseph gets stuck in jail. Not getting any better.
So, Joseph’s in jail, and he interprets the troubling dreams of two fellow prisoners. All that he asks in return is that they remember him. Turns out the dreams are true, and one fellow prisoner is killed, while the other prisoner is restored to his old position as chief cupbearer to Pharaoh. So what does the chief cupbearer do? Forgets Joseph. This is starting to get old.
“After two whole years….” Two years. Joseph has done nothing wrong. Maybe he was a little braggart around his brothers about his grand dream, and his parents favored him (we don’t really know), but Joseph hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s served his master steadfastly, helped him out, resisted sleeping with his master’s wife, and even helps his fellow prisoners out, loving God faithfully during this entire time. And what does he get? Nada. Nothing. Not until the Pharaoh has a bad dream and the chief cupbearer goes, “Oh, right, there was this guy in the prisons that I was supposed to tell you about….”
So Joseph rises to overseer for Pharaoh after interpreting his dream for him, and becomes very powerful, and eventually meets his brothers, who don’t recognize him in his Egyptian garb. A perfect opportunity for some revenge, right? Or at least a good chance to rant off some of the pain that Joseph’s been through. I have to admit that I think I’d do that – finally speak the speech that I’ve been practicing for years to say to their faces.
However, look at what does Joseph say to his brothers, when he finally reveals who he is:
“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. …And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:5-8)
Joseph, who is no accident, recognizes that even the bad that happened in his life wasn’t an “accident.” What everyone else had meant it for evil were the very steps that led Joseph to be in the right place and in the right time.
Does this make what his brothers did right? No. In fact, later on, when Joseph’s father Jacob dies, all of a sudden Joseph’s brothers wonder if now they are going to get his due punishment:
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’” (Gen. 50:15).
So they send a message to Joseph asking for forgiveness yet again, and say that their father sent a plea as well (it’s not clear whether they made their father’s plea up or not). “‘And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’”
And once again, Joseph doesn’t pull out the speech he’s saved to belittle them all. Instead, he responds gracefully, pointing once again that all the wrong in his life came together for an amazing purpose:
“Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.’” (Gen. 50:17b-21).
Joseph’s life, despite the bad things that happened to him, was not an accident.
This is true for you, too.
Your Life Is Not An Accident
As far as what’s happened to you in the past, all the way up to today, well, those actions may have involved accidents. Maybe you made a bad choice that resulted in an accident. Maybe someone else caused an accident that has caused problems for you. Maybe someone else purposefully caused you pain. Maybe you purposefully hurt someone. It’s been a tough life for you. Painful. Sad. Heartbreaking.
Despite all of this, despite the shadow of burdens of our pasts that haunt us, we are here at this moment and time for a reason. You being here at this moment and time isn’t an accident.
You Have Purpose – Your Life Has Purpose
You have purpose.
Don’t freak out on me now. This isn’t the “You have one purpose and you better discover it!” speech (because that’s not true). I just simply want you to understand that you have purpose. You are here at this time, in this place, in your location, for a reason. And while some of the factors of your life may be bad, or bad things have happened to you, they don’t have to affect your future, and they can all be used for good. No matter what trials and sadness you have faced in your life (or are facing right now), your life still has a purpose. Despite the garbage from your past, or the burden you are carrying right now, these very things cannot stop your life from being amazing. Imagine turning all the terrible things in your life, heartaches and pains and sorrows, into something good that still glorifies God?
You’re not an accident, and your life is not an accident. God intended a purpose for your time on this earth.
So take a breath. Have a sip of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever warm and comforting drink you prefer, and rest in the peace of the knowledge that our God is greater than accidents.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3)
*Photos courtesy of: fotobias, PublicDomainPictures, clarali, chikid