When I was a student at Milligan College (now Milligan University), my work-study job on campus was “Chapel Coordinator”, where I worked with our Campus Minister to help prepare all our chapel services. I had no idea that that work was preparing me for my current ministry role at Ozark Christian College, where, in addition to teaching classes, I oversee chapel and our student worship teams. Two decades ago, God began laying that groundwork, and I had no idea.

I often see the events of my life as separate individualized snapshots that don’t have much connectivity to each other or much bearing on the greater story arc of my life. I struggle to see how the choices I make or the opportunities provided to me relate to one another or prepare me for what God has in store.

But every now and then, I get a glimpse of that connective tissue and see how God is telling one grand story through the various events of my life.

I similarly have struggled with seeing the entire narrative story arc that the Bible tells. It’s easy for me to see the individual stories and appreciate them on their own, but for much of my life it’s been difficult to see the forest for the proverbial trees.

In recent years, though, God has given me a great gift: the ability to begin zooming out to see how all those individual moments in the Bible come together in a beautiful tapestry that he has been weaving since before time began.

The various stories retold in the Bible are no longer just one-off snapshots but rather one great narrative story about God’s saving work.

Try this example on for size: The reason we have The Table (Communion/Lord’s Supper) today is because Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit.

WHAT?! I’m confused. How does that make sense?

Let me explain.

Follow me as we trace the plot points of this story:

  • Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit (Gen. 37.23-24)
  • Joseph is sold to a group of Ismaelites and taken to Egypt (Gen. 37.28)
  • Joseph is bought by an Egyptian man named Potiphar (one of Pharaoh’s officers) and winds up in jail after Potphiar’s wife makes a false accusation against him (Gen. 39)
  • Joseph interprets dreams while in jail and eventually is brought out of jail to do the same for Pharaoh (Gen. 40.1 – 41.36)
  • After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream and putting a plan in place to help Egypt navigate the impending famine, Joseph becomes second in command in Egypt (Gen. 41.37-57)
  • Joseph’s family comes to Egypt for food during the famine and, after a series of events, eventually settles in Egypt, including Joseph’s father Jacob, who is 130 at the time (Gen. 42.1 – 47.12)
  • REMEMBER: “Jacob” was renamed “Israel” in Gen. 32.28, so the “Israelites” are just “Jacob’s really big extended family”
  • As the years go by, Jacob/Israel dies (Gen. 49.33), Joseph dies (Gen. 50.22-26), the Israelite population in Egypt grows exponentially (Ex. 1.1-7), a new Pharaoh (who doesn’t know Joseph) rises to power and is threatened by the sheer number of Israelites, so he enslaves them (Ex. 1.8-14)
  • Moses & Aaron (descendants of Jacob/Israel) eventually come to tell Pharaoh to let the enslaved Israelites go free (Ex. 5.1). After the 10th plague, when the death angel passes over the door frames of the Israelites but kills the firstborn of all those without the lamb’s blood smeared on the doorposts, he finally relents and lets the Israelites go (Ex. 11.1 – 12.32)
  • That night has been celebrated by Israelites ever since in a festival called “Passover” (“Pesach” in Hebrew)
  • It was during one of those Passover celebrations (called the Seder meal) in which Jesus enacted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26.17-29, Mark 14.12-25, Luke 22.7-38), which Christians still participate in every single week.

So, all these biblical snapshots tied together tell the story of God’s faithfulness and saving work throughout history: Because Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit, he eventually helped save Egypt from famine, his family (the Israelites) came to settle in Egypt, grew really big, were enslaved, were released following the 10th plague, and eventually Jesus, while celebrating this memory with his disciples, enacted the Lord’s Supper. Pretty cool, huh?

In the same way that God has always been, and currently still is, weaving together the Gospel story, I firmly believe that he is bringing together all the individual moments of each of our lives to tell one grand story of faith and salvation.

I have to encourage and remind myself of that reality every day. Let me do the same for you; let me remind you to look at everything God is doing in your life and, whether you see the destination God has in mind or not, to be thankful, knowing that God is doing a great work in you and preparing you for things that could be five days, five months, five years, or even five decades away.

God will ALWAYS be faithful to complete the work, we just have to be faithful enough to say “yes”.

Isaac Schade

Isaac Schade is a member of our Christ’s Church family, currently serving on staff at our Impact partner, Ozark Christian College. He is also married to Maggie Schade, who serves as our Community Impact Minister here at Christ’s Church (pictured here alongside him).

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