When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37), he could have described the timing as less than ideal. He had intended to return to his father, but his brothers had other ideas. When Joseph was falsely accused of immorality by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39), his plans quickly changed; he expected to “do his work” but ended up imprisoned (Genesis 39:11, 20). When the chief cupbearer “did not remember Joseph, but forgot him,” failing to mention his innocence to Pharaoh, Joseph paid the price and spent two additional years in jail (Genesis 40:23; 41:1). Surely, he would have preferred to be set free.
How frustrating might it have been for Joseph’s life to be repeatedly flipped upside down by the people around him and events that seemed totally out of his control? But Joseph would eventually realize that what was most important in his life was not his ideal, plans, or timing, but God’s. God used the sin and wickedness around Joseph in combination with His perfect timing to save or “to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
In our own lives, we may have plans and ideas about how we would like things to unfold, but what is far more critical are God’s plans for each of us. No matter how wonderful or frustrating things might seem, we need to trust in God and His perfect timing in every circumstance of life.