We all have an idea of how we hope that our life would go. We all have dreams. We have dreams for our own lives and the lives of people who are close to us. We have goals that we would like to accomplish during our lifetime. We have a measure of what would constitute a complete life for us.
When reality does not match our idealized life, we are disappointed and sad. We grieve the loss of a life that we had imagined both for ourselves and those who are close to us. We wonder where God is in all of these situations.
The Bible tells us about a man with whom we can identify. Jacob’s life had taken several unexpected twists, yet he came to the end of his life content with God’s will. Jacob was ready to die, when his end was approaching. He was at peace with his life and all that God had done through him even though life had not turned out the way that he had planned.
Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.” Genesis 46.30 (NLT)
Jacob faced adversity most of his life. He and his twin brother fought from the time that they were born. As a young man, Jacob was tricked into marrying a woman that he didn’t love in a two for one special. Jacob left home on bad terms and lived apart from his family for many years. Jacob’s own sons fought and were intensely jealous of Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob’s wife died early. He lived for years as a nomad. He didn’t get along with his in-laws. As an old man, he witnessed a severe famine and saw his grandchildren go hungry.
Despite all of the challenges that Jacob faced, he continued to lead. He dealt with his grief. He chose to follow God. And, he chose to continue to envision a future for himself and his loved ones. He looked for what was redeemable about life. He lived a life that mattered.
All of us face the reality of a life that has not turned out exactly as we have planned. Sometimes we struggle to see all of the good that has come from our lives because it may have been unplanned or may have been forgotten along the way.
What do you want to accomplish in the days that you have left? What might God do in your life that you have not planned? What would it take for you to be able to say at the end of your life that you are ready to go because you know that your life was worthwhile?
Jacob was content knowing that Joseph was alive and that God was still doing His work in the world. May God give us eyes to see His will and work that will live on long past our few days. May God give us a glimpse of the bigger picture.