About a pathway to prosperity and strength.
About how that pathway separated them, then brought them back together again.
It’s a story of shattered dreams, unspeakable grief, profound loneliness, and the ultimate family reunion.
This is the story of the Broken Road, and how God used it in two people’s lives to rewrite history – theirs, and yours.
Psalm 105 contains an interesting description of the father, Jacob:
Israel also came into Egypt;
Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And [God] caused His people to be very fruitful,
And made them stronger than their adversaries.
Sounds simple enough. But let me ask you a question. If you were going to write a plan to get somebody to a place of fruitfulness and strength, how would you script it?
Start with a dream, maybe?
Then a few targeted objectives?
Maybe a good strategic plan, with a collaborative partnership or two?
Throw in some hefty funding, maybe some high-dollar training, and a few little victories to establish momentum, and you’re on your way, right?
That’s not exactly how this story went down. The path to fruitfulness that God chose for Jacob and his family was completely contrary to the way my linear thinking would have imagined it. The Lord chose two parallel tracks – one for Joseph, the other for Jacob and his brood. I wouldn’t have chosen either, for anybody. Neither would you, I suppose.
But then, neither of us can claim to be God, now can we?
It started with a dream – you can read all about it here. Actually it was two dreams that Jacob’s favorite son had. Isn’t that where all good things start?
Yeah, only this time it just caused Joseph’s brothers to hate him even more. (Side note: Don’t be surprised if your dreams are resented by petty, jealous people.)
You know the story – here’s where the paths diverge. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and tell their father that his boy is dead.
Joseph becomes a slave to Potiphar. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph is falsely accused of attempted rape. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph is imprisoned. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph interprets dreams for others. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph is forgotten by the people he helped, leading to more waiting. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph interprets the dream for Pharaoh. Jacob is consumed with grief.
Joseph is dramatically promoted to second-in-command of all Egypt. Jacob is consumed with grief.
True to Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, a famine spreads throughout the region, and Jacob sends his sons to get help from the Egyptians. Lo and behold, they’re eye-to-eye with their brother. And get this! He’s actually excited to see them. This leads to the family being united, with great favor from the government, in Egypt, where they did see great increase and prosperity.
Jacob was no longer consumed with grief… but he remained shaped by it.
Joseph was no longer in the pit… but he never forgot what it was like.
Did any of it ever make sense to either of them? I think so, at least to Joseph. His famous statement in Genesis 50:20 sure seems to make a case for it:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
In order to get them where He was taking them – to a place of abundance and strength – God allowed His people to experience great loss.
I probably should repeat that.
In order to get them where He was taking them, God allowed His people to experience great loss.
Could He have done it another way? I don’t know. What I do know is that His ways are higher than mine and His intentions are kinder than yours. And in the case of a devastated father and a broken son, He didn’t allow their losses to have the final say.
He won’t allow your losses to have the last word, either. They are not permanent, but a pathway by which God is producing fruitfulness and making you stronger than your adversaries.
If you’re reeling from pain or devastated because of some great loss, keep moving down the path, even if you’re limping like Jacob. There’s a fruitfulness coming at the end of the Broken Road that you just can’t see yet.
If your dreams have gone AWOL and you feel forgotten and rejected, keep moving down the path, even if you’re in a holding pattern like Joseph. There’s a strength that’s coming at the end of the Broken Road that you just can’t see yet.
If your past is haunting you and you’re consumed with guilt, keep moving down the path, even if you find yourself facing payday someday like Joseph’s brothers. There’s a peace that’s coming at the end of the Broken Road that you just can’t see yet.
Left to our own devices, broken roads are the fruit of broken lives and lead to nowhere. But in the hands of a Master Designer with a grander plan, the Broken Road – your broken road – is taking you to a beautiful place.
And you can trust Him.
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