I’m sitting at work. For hours. We’ve hit another roadblock.
A two hour roadblock that will hold up testing, and we have around 4-5 more hours of testing to do. It’s going to be a long night.
With a 5 am start, the war room is full of exhausted people. I am one of them.
What do we do when we hit roadblocks in our lives? How do we move forward?
I was truly afraid I had hit a major roadblock a couple of nights ago when I wrote this post: Wednesday’s are Hard. For my mind and my soul, it was a huge roadblock. I hit another roadblock last night. There are other kinds of roadblocks. Divorce. Loss of a college scholarship. A car wreck. A layoff. A death. Cancer. Large or small, roadblocks interrupt our lives. They cause stress. They create chaos. At the very least, they slow us down mentally, physically and spiritually.
I’ve been looking at the story of Joseph lately. It’s a tremendous story of irrepressible hope. Hope that, though deferred, eventually comes to fruition.
After Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph eventually finds himself in jail. In the Pharaoh’s prison. (Read the story, starting in Genesis 37. Fascinating and too long to retell here). This was a major roadblock. What happened to this young man, who was his father’s “favorite” (which of course caused issues with his brothers). What happened to this young man who had dreams of ruling over his brothers. Instead, he finds himself forgotten in the prison–for a very long time. A very, very long time.
There’s not much more of a roadblock to one’s dreams and plans than prison. I’ve watched someone that I used to love very much, my ex-husband, suffer deeply at the loss of dreams, goals and plans—as a cost for His own terrible sin. Joseph found himself witting in prison, with his dreams and plans literally put on hold. With no idea how long or when this roadblock would end.
He was there for years.
What do we do when our plans, our goals, our dreams and even our lives are roadblocked? I know what my reaction generally is: one of complete and utter impatience. And rebellion. Senseless rebellion. But what does that gain me, except more frustration, more fear, more stress and more shame?
There is a verse that before I became a believer, I often rolled my eyes at, because it sounded so cliche. The verse is found in Jeremiah 29:11:
I had heard this verse all my life. I had seen it cross-stitched and hung on the wall. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a “nice” saying. How could the “Lord’s” plans for me be fore welfare and a future and hope and not evil? I didn’t see it and I didn’t believe it.
But I’ve come to believe that sometimes—not always–but occasionally a roadblock will come from God. I’m not saying God is the author of evil. But He is sovereign. And nothing that touches my life is not first sifted through His hands. And nothing that happened to Joseph was not sifted first through God’s hands.
Joseph languished in prison for years, until one day the Pharaoh had a disturbing dream. One of his servants remembered that while he himself was in prison, Joseph had interpreted a dream correctly for him. And all of a sudden, Joseph found himself in the court of the Pharaoh, correctly interpreting his dream and ending up become the “second in command” for the land of Egypt. If you know the rest of the story, you know that Joseph not only saved all of Egypt from famine, but he saved his brothers and his father from the famine as well, reuniting with them (who had done him much evil) and bringing them to dwell with him in the land.
But what about us? What do we do when we have a roadblock that not only blocks our way forward, but overshadows our every step? And kills our joy and hope? I believe that we eventually find ourselves in a place of desperation–right where we are meant to be. And if we turn toward the only one who can restore hope—our God—then we will see that His plans for us are meant for good, not evil. What man meant for evil, God meant for good.
And if we can hold on to this promise, I believe God will grant us enough hope to hold on. To Him. To hold on. To the only one that is holding on to us—our God. And there is no greater hope than that.
And what if our hopes are never realized? What if our dreams never come true? What if our life is suddenly pushed down a path we didn’t choose? I’ll not sugar coat it, it’s painful. It hurts. It’s frightening and stressing and exhausting. But if we are believer’s, if we are God’s children, would He not give us what is best for us? He is always good. He is always good. He is constant, He is faithful, He is sovereign.
During this brief break from work, writing this has reminded me that the God of the universe has plans for my life! For me–His stubborn, rebellious child.
Tonight, I cling to that.