Life is full of opportunity. Some are good and some are GREAT. The thing is, very often the opportunities that are great don’t really look that great. The life of the old testament character of Joseph powerfully illustrates this.
The story of Joseph is found in the latter parts of the book of Genesis. His narrative teaches us so many lessons about God and life. However, one which can often be missed is the importance of opportunity.
Joseph was highly favored, not only by his father but by God. However, this caused a backlash of jealously from his brothers. They were so envious that they sold him into slavery and made up a story to their devastated father that Joseph had been killed.
He was subsequently bought by Potiphar, a high ranking officer under the Egyptian ruler (known as the Pharaoh). Whilst working for Potiphar, he was wrongly accused of trying to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. This resulted in him being sent to prison. Whilst in prison, he befriended the Pharoah’s cup bearer who had also been falsely imprisoned. Joseph interpreted a dream which the cup bearer had and told him he would be released from prison. Within a short time, that’s exactly what happened. The cup bearer was free. At this point Joseph was most probably thinking, ‘YES. This is a GOOD opportunity for me to get out of prison too! The cup bearer will tell the King that I can be of good use to him!’ However, when the cup bearer was released, he completely forgot about Joseph. It looked bleak for Joseph.
Then one day when Pharaoh was troubled by unexplainable dreams, he requested help. Suddenly the cup bearer remembered Joseph. Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and interpreted the king’s dream. He explained that there would be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine – and urged Pharaoh to prepare for famine. This proved true. It was so accurate that Joseph was taken into the trust of the king and put in charge of the land of Egypt, rescuing the country from bankruptcy and saving the lives of thousands of people.
The story of Joseph ultimately shows us how GREAT opportunities can often be disguised in what would seem to appear as bleakness and misery. Yet in the midst of despair, a GREAT opportunity arose, brought about by God which saw Joseph excel past a point which he could ever have imagined.
When I was making my decision about where I would study at university, Loughborough was my second choice. My original choice was a university which was at that time ranked higher than Loughborough. I thought this would have been a GOOD opportunity for me. But it wasn’t to be. So I came to Loughborough.
Since then though, Loughborough has risen to be ranked as one of the top 5 universities in the UK. I was initially disappointed because I seemed to lose out on a good opportunity at another university. However I didn’t realise that I would have a GREATER opportunity.
I had a good opportunity to play rugby at a decent standard but I have been given the GREATER opportunity to play at the highest university standard at Welford Road (home to Leicester tigers) and at Twickerham stadium.
I believe God had other plans for me which I didn’t see at the time. He brought me to Loughborough and ultimately to the Junction Church in Loughborough. I love it.
The thing is, the God we serve is not just a good God but a GREAT God. Jeremiah 29:11 say “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to PROSPER you and NOT to HARM you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Things may not be going how we expected or wanted them to go, but that’s okay because we are in the hands of the Creator of the WHOLE universe. Therefore, lean in and make the most of every opportunity because there are so many great things yet to come.