If people ask me what I do when they meet me, I tell them I am a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I add that I worked Arco Chemical Company prior to staying home. This sounds simple, but if you were to know the “behind the scenes story” you would see it was not a straight path. I started college as a Biology major to be a zoologist. I graduated as a German/El.Ed. major and then moved to Austria for a year to teach English. Upon returning to the US, I got a job teaching which I hated because I was a terrible teacher. I then signed up with a temporary agency, who put me at a chemical company. I worked in the Purchasing department, then accounting, and ended up in Customer Service. I loved all these positions. Now, God has me as a stay-at-home mom, my favorite job of all so far. Needless to say, my path was not exactly a clear, straight line.
Gen. 47:27 is one of those verses that definitely does not indicate the whole story either. It sounds like God’s people settled in a land and multiplied as if that was a simple path. We all know it was not so simple. It was not a clear line of Abraham moving to Egypt, and having a large line of descendants all the way to Joseph. If we were going to write a plan for God to implement how he would bring Israel to this point, I don’t think we could ever imagine it like the true life story. We would not include a man (Abraham) who had no children of his own and was old, finally having a son at the age of 100. We wouldn’t be able to dream up Isaac having twins, Esau and Jacob, who lived lives of treachery, deceit, and fierce sibling rivalry. We would not opt for trickery in marriage to Leah instead of Rachel by Laban. Joseph would not be hated by brothers to the point of being sold into slavery and gone from his family for decades. No, I don’t think any of us could even come up with a storyline this crazy with so many twists and turns. This is not how we would write a novel with an end sentence like “Thus Israel settled in the land Egypt.”
Why was it done this way? Why wasn’t it simpler? A clearer path? Less complicated? It is because as God tells us in this week’s memory verse: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways.” (Is. 55:8) God’s ways will not be what we would have “written” many many times in our lives, the lives of our families and others. His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Sometimes we might find them the same, but I think those will be the rare times. We are the “character” in the story like Joseph, and our main job is to be faithful and obedient where God places us. We are to use the gifts He has given to do what we believe He is calling us to do, until He chooses to change our path. We must trust God when we think there would have been a much simpler, straighter path. God has His reasons. The final sentence or summary of our life will be the exact outcome God wanted from the beginning. It will be the fulfillment of His will, with our life intertwined in ways that are not “our” ways, but are the best ways. It may lead us down roads that are ones we never thought we would travel. I am not a zoologist and never will be. Thank goodness, because I wouldn’t trade where God has brought me for anything now. I am thankful I am not writing the story and that God is the “writer”. His story is the best path for me and for you. We need only know he is the Author and perfecter of our faith, and trust the story of our life, with all its twists and turns, will end up exactly where it needs to in the end.