I love it when I hit every green light on my way to my destination. Smooth sailing all the way. The truth is, it feels so right that many times I don’t really pay attention to the ease of the trip. Everything is as it should be.
But I also know how it feels to hit every red light along the way, especially when I’m in a hurry. Can’t seem to catch a break and the timing is off – at every intersection. Nothing is as it should be.
Sometimes life is like that, too. Some seasons seem like everything is running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, green lights all the way. But other seasons of life seem to be rife with struggle, conflict, confusion, frustrations, and problems one after another. Life seemingly hits a bad light cycle.
The story of Joseph in the Old Testament (Genesis 37-50) fits this bad light cycle scenario. Although he was loved uniquely by his father Jacob, Joseph’s brothers hated him and sought him harm. In fact, they conspired to kill him; later, though, they amended their plan to sell him into slavery. Joseph just hit his bad light cycle.
As a slave, the Lord’s favor was on him and Joseph became successful and desirable in the eyes of top Egyptian leaders. But another red light was coming, and Joseph ended up in prison on account of his integrity and desire to honor God’s Word. Time and again, Joseph hits red light after red light, but thankfully, that’s not where the story ends.
Toward the end of Joseph’s story in Genesis, we read that God was purposefully at work behind Joseph’s bad light cycle. We read:
Therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God. ~Genesis 45:8
And perhaps my favorite behind-the-scenes explanation of the bad light cycle is Genesis 50:20, which says,
You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people.
And that’s the point. It seems that you and I are not equipped to understand how catching every red light – literally or experientially – is working out God’s purposes in our lives in real time. But upon reflection, and knowing that hindsight is 20/20 vision, we are able to see the hand of God at work. We can then say with certainty:
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28
As you read this post, maybe you’re right in the middle of one of these bad light cycles. Hang in there. God is with you, even if it doesn’t seem like it or feel like it. And in due time, when you get to the vantage point to look back, you’ll see how it all fits together for your good and His glory.
But maybe now you’re hitting all green lights. How did you handle the bad light cycle you faced before? What did the Lord teach you once you had the opportunity to reflect? Leave a comment below.
Micah Carter is the HCSB Translation Spokesperson for B&H Publishing Group. He lives in Franklin, Tenn., with his wife Meredith and their sons Benjamin and Jonathan. Micah is also on the pastoral team of Redemption City Church and blogs occasionally at Gospel Reign.