When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
Had sent. In grammar terminology, this form of “to send” is the past perfect. It indicates the order of past events. In Psalm 105, “had sent” means before the famine, God had sent Joseph. Before the Israelites ever needed food, God had sent the one who would provide it for them. This also means God knew Joseph’s future from before Joseph was born. He placed those dreams in Joseph’s heart, He was present when Joseph’s brothers sold him to slave traders, and He understood the long, difficult road Joseph traveled. God was not blind to the fact that Joseph’s “feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron” (Psalm 105:18). God knew the heartache, the pain, and the testing that Joseph endured in preparation for what was ahead, “until what He had said came to pass” (Psalm 105:18).
Actually, that is the key to understanding the purpose for the pain: God knew what was ahead. God had a plan. An ordained plan. A plan that would provide Him with the most glory. God knew the purpose of it all. He knew He wanted Israel to come to Egypt. He knew He wanted to make His people “very fruitful” and “stronger than their foes” (Psalm 105:24). God knew.
Yes, even if in the midst of the plan, man could not understand it, God knew.
And this is where I want to encourage you today. God has a plan. He has a plans for a future and a hope. As Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us: “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God knows where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going–and nothing surprises Him. Nothing. So if you’re wondering when the answer to your prayers will come, remember this: He has already sent the answer. Yes, the answer has already been set in motion. It was ordained before the world began. And it will come. It will arrive at just the right moment–it will arrive exactly according to God’s plan.
Even more, think about this: God has already sent you. Yes, you. You are the answer to someone’s prayer–a prayer that person may not even be aware of yet. The road you are traveling this very moment is one God has set in motion as preparation for the day you “…may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort … [you are being] comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Isn’t that amazing? God has not only already sent the one who will help you, but He has already sent you to be the help to another. He is doing as He said He would do; He’s working all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
So keep on keeping on. Keep your eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith. Don’t look away, not even for a moment. Keep trusting. Keep believing. And keep knowing that one day you will stand on the other side of suffering; one day you’ll be able to declare something similar to Joseph when he reunited with his brothers: “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God (Genesis 45:7-8).
It was not you, but God. Remember this today. God has a plan, and no man can alter it. No man can stand in the way of what God has planned for you. In fact,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)