With school starting this week, I think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books which my elementary school students loved. Readers could choose optional plot points leading to one of a number of climaxes and resolutions, or conversely to a dead end where they had to backtrack.
In this month’s prompts, you choose your own adventure: Tell us your best ‘How-To’ tips. | Take the Dictionary or other reference and select three words you don’t know and write a piece using those words. | What new resource has you wishing you would have had that when you first started out? | Inform your readers about the genre in which you write.
My first forays into “choose your own adventure” for this month’s blog post led me to brambles, mud holes and dead ends. Finally my meditation on the story of Joseph brought me to a satisfactory conclusion.
The Forward Moving Strategy of God
I have always been drawn to the Biblical story of Joseph, because it has spoken to me so often in so many circumstances. And as I’ve talked with other writers, I discover how his story has great implications for our writing.
Joseph had a dream. Two dreams. Dreams of greatness. Dreams of stardom. Was he aware that the source was God?
But then God took him on a circuitous route that contradicted the very idea of those dreams.
His envious brothers sold him to Ishmaelite traders and he landed as a slave in Egypt. There in Potiphar’s house he developed managerial and leadership skills. He also developed faith—deep faith—in God. But Potiphar’s wife accused him unfairly and he was bound chained and thrown into prison.
As a forgotten foreigner in Egypt, his life must have been at its lowest ebb.
He must have wondered how the evil done him could have any purpose.
He must have wondered if his prison time would ever come to an end.
Yet his faith in God grew and strengthened his character.
God was with Joseph, and these circumstances became the raw material out of which God was preparing him for his strategic role in Egypt. In time he was promoted to viceroy where he saved Egypt and his own family from famine. In Egypt, God formed his family into the nation of Israel.
Joseph’s story challenges us to look deeper into our dreams for our writing.
God is the source of our vision.
He wants to use us strategically in the lives of others.
He motivates us to move forward toward that vision.
However, circumstances may contradict our plans—health concerns, family disruptions, a major move—any number of situations may come up to prevent us from writing for a time.
At first they may seem like dead ends.
We may feel nothing is being accomplished.
We may even wonder if we have lost our way.
But God is the God of detours, and he gives us signposts such as this: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isa 30:21 ESV).
So, like Joseph, let us be faithful in our current situation.
Let us yield our detours and our future to God.
Let us hold fast to any promises God has given us.
A day will come when we will look back and discover how even these detours have been part of the “forward moving strategy of God.”
 Lloyd John Ogilvie. Lord of the Impossible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1984, 55.