Corn Mazes at Ground Level
I have no idea what I'm doing.
I've had this post in my drafts for about a year or so, and the last few months has just exacerbated the situation. Not only am I not sure what I'm doing now, I never really have before either. Where do my stories and experiences fit in with what's going to happen? Was there a purpose for it?
What do we do when we come to a roadblock? What if there's another roadblock after that? Obstacle after obstacle. Turn after turn. It becomes confusing, and maybe even scary.
Especially when you believe God has placed a call on your life. You remember what God has told you but you can't see over top of what's in front of you. You remember the promises but forgot there'd be a journey.
You think maybe you heard God wrong. Maybe you're on the wrong path. Did you make the wrong decision? What do you do then? What happens to your dreams when your current situation is so out of control?
The short answer? Nothing at all.
The long answer? The story of Joseph.
Joseph's story can be found in Genesis 37-50 and it began with a literal dream. God gave him a dream one night that depicted his brothers and parents bowing down to him. And later had another dream that signified the same thing.
When he told his brothers about these dreams, they became angry with him. His brothers already weren't huge fans of his, as their father favored Joseph. But hearing his dreams was the last straw. And so one day they schemed to get rid of him. First they were just going to kill him, but then threw him down a well while they decided what to do with him.
Can you imagine Joseph down in that well? "God, this looks nothing like that dream. In fact, this looks like the opposite of that dream."
They eventually decided to sell him to a group of Ishmaelites that were traveling by, who in turn sold him to a man named Potiphar in Egypt.
The blessing of God was on Joseph, and Potiphar soon made him his personal servant and put him in charge of his house. Going immediately from servant to head of house. But that didn't last either, Potiphar's wife tried to sleep with Joseph. And when Joseph refused, she told Potiphar that he tried to get her to sleep with him. When hearing this, Potiphar became angry and sent him to prison. Going from head of house to prisoner. But soon after getting to prison, the warden liked Joseph so much that he put him in charge of the entire prison. Going from prisoner to second only to the warden. (Ch. 39)
Regardless of the actions of those around you, God's promises will not be denied.
Joseph found favor with every person in authority around him, only to be cut down by those below. But Joseph never let go of that dream.
He was not just a talented dreamer though, he had a knack for interpreting dreams as well. At one point while in prison, two of the king's officers displeased him, so they were put into the prison that Joseph was in charge of. One night both men had a dream that they did not understand. Joseph noticed they were troubled and asked what was wrong, they told him about their dreams. Because God was with him, he knew immediately what their dreams meant. Upon telling them, he told one of them, "When you are free, remember me. Be kind to me, and tell the king about me so I can get out of this prison."
The chapter ends with both dreams coming to fruition just as Joseph predicted but it says, "the officer did not remember Joseph. He forgot all about him." (Ch. 40)
TWO YEARS go by, when one night the king had a dream of his own that he could not figure out. He called on magicians and wise men all around Egypt, but no one could interpret it. It was at this point that the officer remembered Joseph. "Now I remember something that I promised to do, but I forgot about." When the king heard about him, he had Joseph come to him. Because God was with him, he interpreted the king's dream.
The dream was God warning the king that there would be seven years of great crops and plenty of food, followed by seven years of terrible famine. And that during the seven good years, food should be set aside in droves so there is plenty of food for the seven bad years.
The king is amazed at the interpretation and can see God is with him. So he puts Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, second only to the king. (Ch. 41)
God honors his promises.
At each step of his journey, Joseph encountered roadblocks and dead ends, only for God to step in and open a pathway he never saw. But even though Joseph couldn't see ahead of him, he always remembered that dream that God had gave him. Even as a servant and prisoner, he waited patiently for the next step.
A corn maze from the ground is quite confusing. Not to mention, unimpressive. You don't know where you're headed or how far until you reach the end. It takes looking at it from above where it starts to make sense, and you actually start seeing some beauty in it. When you look back and you see where you came from, you realize why you had to do those things to get to where you are.
So I don't know what I'm doing right now. But I do know that this will be just a fraction of my story at the end. "In my twenties I lived in Irvine, CA for a year and a half" will be a sentence somewhere like 1/16 of the way through my life story. "The year I was 25, I accidentally had six different jobs" will be a fun fact I throw in when I talk about all God has done in my life. "Lauren Daigle and I met at a socially distant pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese" will be something I throw in just to see if they're paying attention.
Getting out of a maze requires patience and trust.
Me: "God are you sure I'm going the right way?"
Me: "Really? This looks similar to my last turn."
God: "Yes, really. It looks so cool from up here, you're gonna flip. Plus I can see the end, seriously, just keep going."
God will always, always (always) honor his promises. Whether that be things he's told you personally or ones you find in the Bible.
Back to Joseph real quick. He's now in charge of all of Egypt. The seven good years have ended during which Egypt had stockpiled food, and the famine has begun. Hunger quickly spread across the land and reached Joseph's family. So, like many in that whole region, they come to Joseph to buy food from him. When they arrive, he recognizes them but they don't recognize him.
In chapter 45, Joseph reveals to them that he is the brother that they sold into slavery. They become terrified of Joseph, out of fear of retaliation. But in verses 5-8, Joseph says to them, "Now don't be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people's lives. God sent me here ahead of you to make sure you have some descendants left on earth and to keep you alive in an amazing way. It was not you who sent me here, but God."
Joseph, now at the fruition of his dream, could see what God had done. He now knows that he had to be sold into slavery, because that would lead to Potiphar. Potiphar was an officer to the king. Because of this, when Joseph was falsely accused, the prison he was put in was the king's prison. So when the king had prisoners of his own, that's where he sent them. Which lead to the king hearing about Joseph. Which lead to Joseph's interpretation saving Egypt and surrounding areas.
And now that we can look back, we know why Joseph's family had to survive the famine. Him and his brothers became the twelve tribes of Israel. Without their lineage, we wouldn't have Paul, Mordecai, Samuel, Samson, Moses, Aaron, John the Baptist, David, Mary, and Jesus. All of whom came from one of those twelve tribes.
The point is God sees the whole maze. He knows the end. And even though where you're at looks nothing like the dream you had, once you reach the end, it'll make sense why it didn't.
So if you're not sure what to do now or where you're at, do what Joseph did. Be patient. Trust God. Remember his promises. Even after interpreting the officer's dream in prison, Joseph had to wait an additional two years for that to pay off. But Joseph remained faithful to God. And God remained faithful to Joseph.
God isn't calling your name from the end of the maze, he's talking you through each turn.