by Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott
Joseph’s scandalous brothers had sent him through hell, but the tables turned when they appeared before him needing food for their families during the famine. Joseph could have exacted harsh revenge, but instead he communicates God’s perspective on their situation. In Genesis 45:4 – 8 we read:
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (NIV).
COVID-19 has caused many of us to make unscheduled changes. I was in the 36th year of my teaching career in March of 2019 when the pandemic forced schools to shut down. Like teachers all over the United States, our faculty pivoted and began teaching kids from home.
Boy, that was hard. The pressure of those months exclusively in front of my computer until the end of the school year sent me into physical therapy. My back, neck, and shoulders ached. The weight of those months added more anxiety on top of other work-related tensions. Why was all this mounting up on me at one time? God seemed silent.
Then, at the end of July, well before vaccines, the administration at my school began talking about returning to classroom learning. I couldn’t see it. Either I could stay and risk my life, or I could quit and risk my livelihood. After prayer and consultation with my husband, I made the decision to retire early.
I felt God’s prompting to turn my avocation of freelance editing, coaching writers, and publishing my books into a full-time, entrepreneurial venture. He had plans. He directed me to hang out my shingle as a literary agent and start a writers’ academy by turning my one-hour seminars into 12 masterclasses.
After going through the business door God opened, I’ve never looked back. My agency represents dozens of clients, my clients are getting book contracts, my books are launching, and the book development and editing side of the business has no empty slots. I had to step out in faith before I would see God’s favor supporting me on this journey of total trust.
No matter what we’re facing, we too must realize that God is up to something in our lives. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered (“koon” in Hebrew, meaning rendered sure, confirmed, or made prosperous) by the LORD, and He delights in his way” (NKJ). We may not know why God is having us hike the paths we’re trodding, but our job is to just keep walking.
As long as we’re following Him, we can’t go wrong. When troubles threaten to drown us, no worries; He can help us walk on our fitful seas. If difficulties get heated, no problem; He can walk with us in our fiery furnaces. We won’t know until we grow through what we go through that God had us on that path because He had a plan all along.
Even though He’s leading through unfamiliar and possibly treacherous territory, trust God enough to keep following Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NKJ). God is up to something.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: “Live significantly!” That’s the inspiring message of Sharon Norris Elliott, award-winning author, editor, agent, engaging speaker, and licensed minister. Author of 12 books, and associated with several prestigious organizations such as AWSA, ACE, and HSBN.tv, Sharon is also co-director of the WCCW conference. She is founder/CEO of AuthorizeMe® Consulting, Coaching, & Editing Firm and Literary Agency. www.AuthorizeMe.net
Sharon’s latest release, A Woman God Can Bless, walks through the house of your life with you and Jesus. This book will help you ease open the doors of old patterns of behavior, ingrained habits, and accepted dispositions with which you’ve grown accustomed. Within these pages you will find gentle prompts that will help you let the Lord remodel those closed rooms by redesigning your thinking and behavior to line up with His will for how you should then live.
Join the conversation: What is God up to in your life right now?