Think of your life like a novel. If reading isn’t your idea of a leisure activity, think of your life as a feature film. Every detail, good or bad, has played an important part in getting you to where you are today. feature film. Every detail, good or bad, has played an important part in getting you to where you are today. Some of those details have been wonderful. They provide happy memories and have put you in a position to succeed in life. However, there are other details that are painful. They’ve left you with sadness, perhaps some bitterness and some chapters of your life you’d rather forget. All of those good and bad moments have been key components of your story.
One of the most exciting parts about reading a good book or watching a movie is the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen next. However, if the writer was watching the movie or reading the book, he or she wouldn’t be nearly as interested as you are. Why? Because he or she already knows what’s going to happen next. In the same vein, God doesn’t wring His hands while watching your life’s story unfold. Why? Because He already knows what’s going to happen. That’s the case if you’ve submitted your life to Him and made Him the Author of your story.
Who is holding the pen in the writing of your life’s story? Let’s take a look at the life of Joseph and get a better understanding of the benefits of handing God the pen and paper while you set back and accept your role as a leading character while He handles the authorship.
Joseph: Chapter 1
Genesis 37:3 (ESV)
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age.
When we first meet Joseph, he is his father’s favorite son. Without realizing it, part of his story was already in the process of being written. Being the favorite child put a target on Joseph’s back. He didn’t do much to help with that fact when he started telling his brothers about the prophetic dreams he was having. In these dreams, everyone (including his parents) bowed down to him, signifying that one day he would be in authority over his entire family (Genesis 37:6-9). His brothers, already jealous over his position as Israel’s favorite, grew even more jealous over these dreams.
In order to get him out of the equation, they actually came up with a plot to murder him (Genesis 37:18)! One of his brothers named Reuben decided that murder was too extreme, instead convincing his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery. In that moment, it looked like Joseph’s brothers had taken the pen and were writing Joseph’s story themselves.
When you are betrayed by someone close to you, whether it be a friend or a family member, it can feel like they have taken control of your story. It’s easy to let the pain associated with betrayal send you into a tailspin that causes you to feel like you’ll never be able to recover. However, the betrayal of someone close to you doesn’t have to perpetually change your story. Remember, one bad chapter doesn’t equal a bad story.
Joseph: Chapter 2
Genesis 39:20 (ESV)
And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.
Once Joseph made it to Egypt, he quickly advanced. Thanks to God’s presence, the person who bought him as a slave formed a friendship with Joseph. However, Potiphar (the slave owner) had a wife who was attracted to Joseph. She made sexual advances toward him and when he rebuffed them, she framed him. Potiphar chose to believe his wife and threw Joseph into the prison because he believed that Joseph had tried to coerce his wife. Surely Joseph had lost control of his own story now, right?
There’s no way that a jail sentence could be a part of a good story, is there? Joseph, innocent of the charges levied against him, was separated from those dreams of grandeur that he had enjoyed as a teenager. However, God was still firmly in control of Joseph’s story, even in the darkest period of his life:
Genesis 39:23 (ESV)
The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it to succeed.
Joseph’s story took an unimaginable turn, but God still had the pen in His hand. Even if you find yourself in what seems like a hopeless situation that has robbed you of your joy and your peace, your story isn’t done as long as you have handed the pen to God. He is writing your story, even in the darkest chapters.
Joseph: Chapter 3
Genesis 41:57 (ESV)
Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.
Throughout the next two chapters of Genesis, Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams puts him in a position that once seemed unattainable. It started out with Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams of two fellow prisoners. Shortly thereafter, Pharoah sent for him because he heard about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams.
Joseph proved his reliability and the presence of God caused him to find favor with Pharoah, which lead Pharoah to put him in charge over all the grain in Egypt. That was already a large responsibility, but it became even more important when there was a famine that caused the entire world to run low on food. Suddenly, Joseph’s story took the turn that he had dreamed about decades earlier.
Was there anyway to know that Joseph’s story was going to take this kind of turn when his brothers sold him into slavery? How about the day that he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do? Of course not! However, Joseph wasn’t the author of his own story. His brothers weren’t the authors, nor was Potiphar’s wife. Instead, God was penning Joseph’s story, directing his movie if you will. However, Joseph’s story wasn’t done.
Joseph: Chapter 4
Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
This was Joseph’s statement to his brothers who didn’t recognize him when they first went to Egypt to look for food. Joseph hadn’t forgotten about the way that they sold him into slavery. He hadn’t forgotten about the years he spent in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. However, he wasn’t bitter about the whole ordeal. Instead, he pointed to the goodness of God.
The act of selling him into slavery was performed from a place of hatred and jealousy. They wanted to destroy Joseph, and for decades they believed that they had. However, Joseph said that what they meant as evil was used by God for the good of everyone.
When you know that God is writing your story, you don’t get hung up on the bad chapters. Instead, you find His provision in every scene of your movie. You find His blessings in every chapter of your story. Are there painful parts of your story? You’re in good company. Joseph had some terrible chapters, but God still used it all for good. Paul declared the same thing thousands of years later:
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
When God is the author of your story, everything works out in the end. The journey may be rough, but the destination is worth it. Don’t lose hope over a bad scene in your movie. The credits haven’t rolled, and God isn’t done writing your story.
A Closing Prayer:
God, I’m handing you the pen to my story. I can’t write it myself and I refuse to let my circumstances write it for me. Those around me aren’t my author, either. So God, take the pen and write my story for me. I know that if You do, everything will work for my good. In Christ’s name, Amen