I don’t know about you, but I often feel like my life is going nowhere.
Sometimes I have wonderful, meaningful days. Days that fill me with hope and a sense of purpose. Days that make me happy to be alive.
And then, sometimes—more often than I’d like or would care to admit—I have days that feel empty and lifeless. Days that make me question myself and—let’s be honest here—make me question God.
Every time I climb out of one of these ruts, I hope it’ll be the last time. I look forward to living a content, happy, meaningful life all my days.
But then, a few weeks later, I find myself in the pits again.
It all feels so random at times, doesn’t it? I know the Bible says God has a plan for all of our lives, but sometimes it feels like I’m more tossed about by the ups and many downs of life than guided in the hands of a loving Father.
But the more I’ve grown, the more I realize that the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life haven’t come in my good days. They’ve come in my bad times. On those days when everything seems like it’s hanging by a thread.
It made me realize something:
Even in the worst, most senseless periods of our lives, God is always at work.
If you look closely enough at the randomness, you will always see God.
Take the story of Joseph, for example. When Joseph was first sold into slavery and then thrown into prison (Genesis 37; Genesis 39), it would have been easy for him to look around and say God had abandoned him. Or that God was clearly busy elsewhere.
But the Bible tells us that throughout this period, God was testing Joseph’s character and preparing him for the position he was soon to hold. (Psalm 105:19).
God put him in charge of a household (Genesis 39:1-6), then put him in charge of a prison (Genesis 39: 19-23)—which is both larger and harder to manage than a household—so that when the time came for Joseph to be put in charge of a nation, he would be ready (Genesis 41: 37-41).
But Joseph didn’t know that.
It’s easy for us to read Joseph’s story knowing how it ends and see God’s hand clearly at work, but how do you think Joseph felt when it was happening to him? Do you think he woke up every day joyful and cheerful because oh golly, this dark and depressing prison he’d been sentenced to for life was clearly God working a much greater glory in him?
Of course not. When it was happening to Joseph, I’m sure he felt like most of us do in our dark days. I’m sure he asked himself constantly, “Where is God? What happened to the dreams I had? And why are my brothers such terrible people?”
He probably thought all hope was lost. He didn’t know that God was raising him to be hope for an entire nation.
Alternatively, consider the disciples that first Easter Saturday. I can imagine how lost and confused they must have felt. They had put all their trust and faith in Jesus (Luke 18:28), and Jesus was dead.
But they didn’t know that they were the middle of the greatest comeback story ever written in the history of the world.
They had no idea their sorrow would soon be turned into joy.
Here’s what I’m driving at:
For a child of God, nothing is ever truly random.
There is nothing that happens to you that God is not using to work a greater good in and for you. Yes, that includes your worst experiences (2 Timothy 2:10-12). That includes all your heartbreaks and your most bitter tears as well as your highest points. All of it. God sees all of it. God allows all of it. God uses all of it.
There is nothing that happens to you that God is not using to work a greater good in and for you.
And He is there with you through all of it. What do you think Jesus meant He said “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age?” (Matthew 28:20)
The only challenge is that sometimes it’s hard for us to believe God is actually in control, that there’s actually a plan that’s being worked in us. Especially when a long time passes but we don’t see any progress.
But I want to encourage you today. The fact that you don’t see progress does not mean God doesn’t see progress. Because men look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10)
There is a plan for your life. God has not forgotten you. And if you could see your life from God’s perspective for only one second, I promise you everything you’re going through would suddenly make perfect sense. But since we can’t, I’m asking you to take this on faith.
Your life is not random.
It is not pointless.
Maybe, like Jesus, God is teaching you obedience through the things you’re suffering. (Hebrews 5:8)
Maybe He’s purging some bad habits out of you. (James 1:3)
Maybe He’s teaching you to trust Him no matter what.
I don’t know.
But I do know there is a plan, and if you’re a child of God you are never alone. For He has said: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
So next time you look at your life, don’t see randomness. See an unfinished story.
And we all know the ending of a story is always the best part.