Saturday, April 28, 2012

that good change may be sudden

Joseph woke up in his dungeon prison one morning as he had every day for years. On this day, something unexpected happened taking him completely off guard. The prison guards came to fetch him, saying, "We've heard you have the ability to interpret dreams. Our great Pharoah has been puzzled by vivid dreams which none of the magicians and sages can fathom."

Shaking his head in disbelief, Joseph was running off for a quick haircut, shave and change of clothes. What a stroke of unexpected blessing because when he'd tried to do all he could on his own behalf, it seemed to be in vain. He'd interpreted the dream of a cup bearer who was reinstated to Pharoah's service and asked the man to put in a good word for him.

The cup bearer said, "Yeah, sure, mate," and promptly forgot all about him. It's natural for human nature to be tied up with our own affairs. Joseph was not the first or last person to learn this. A full two years later, when a need arose, the cup bearer suddenly remembered. "Oh, yeah, there's a young Hebrew guy down in the dungeon who might be able to help. I'd forgotten all about him."

So Joseph experienced what must surely be one of the most awesome promotions in history; from the dungeons to second in charge of the country. Although none of our sudden promotions or stroke of favour may ever be as dramatic as Joseph's, have you ever noticed a similar pattern in your own life?

You might have exhausted yourself doing all sorts of research, PR work or racing about trying to make good things happen. You might have done your utmost to interest people in your special cause but all to no avail. I've noticed that life often has a way of providing sudden, awesome surprises. It seems to be one of God's favourite ways of working in the lives of His people.

* I met my future husband when I was a Uni student back in 1991. My brother-in-law, who worked at the same place, introduced me to him. It all worked out, in spite of me checking out and possibly trying to impress other guys at Uni or youth group, wondering how to ever find 'the one'. (A more complete version of this story is here on my friend Rita's blog.)

* In autumn 2003, everything changed extremely suddenly from the lifestyle pattern we'd established. I decided to homeschool my children, my husband, Andrew, made a separate decision to quit working as an accountant and I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd baby. Instead of the usual commute to school and work we'd anticipated, we found ourselves setting off in a caravan to explore the eastern states with a 9-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 2-month-old baby.

Some more of those sudden new things have taken place just this year, 2012. On January 1st, I expected it to be just the same writing and homeschooling life as usual. My oldest son, 17-year-old Logan, started studying year 12 and we thought that would be the biggest event of the year. Not so at all (although it might be for him). I'll just mention a few others.

* One day as I was doing a check of Face Book's news feed, I saw a post about a romance novel which was a collaboration by four American authors. I felt a light switch on in that part of my brain that tells me whenever something is exciting and worth pursuing. After mulling over the idea myself, the enthusiasm just got bigger, so I sent a message to three other authors I know and whose works I enjoy, suggesting the idea that we do something similar for the Australian market. To my delight, they were all keen to jump on board. The result has been a fun project unlike anything any of us have done before. We're not far away from the end of our first draft, although there's still plenty of work to do after that.

* Next week, my family is moving into a new home. It was entirely out of the blue. As the children have grown, the rental property we've lived in since our return from our holiday in 2004 has been growing less and less ideal but we've been assuming it's all we can afford. Now, as it happens, our nephew is looking for somewhere new to live and just before Easter my sister sent me a link to a new property not far from ours. As we walked through I had that same light turn on in my brain as I had with the collaboration idea. I knew it would be perfect for us. Just a few weeks later, after filling in paper work and trying to organise other things, we'll be able to make a fresh start in a larger, more comfortable and suitable home.

Have you similar stories to tell? Chance encounters with people who turned out to be spouses or best friends? Sudden new ideas which prompted new career directions? I think we're given a clue in the pages of the Bible that we can expect occurrences like this to happen. Psalm 37:23 tells us, "The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his (or her) way." I like the assurance that being in the right place at the right time to make the right connections or get the right ideas doesn't depend solely on me. And I appreciate that little light switch in the brain He provides to help me know when I'm on the right track.
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