Are You Trying to Straighten What God’s Made Crooked?

Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Eccles. 7:13 Share on X

The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with thought-provoking proverbs like the one above. What do you think it means? I thought of Old Testament Joseph.

God gave Joseph two dreams predicting the exaltation God had planned for him. What expectations do you think these dreams aroused in teenaged Joseph? Surely God’s plan for his life was bigger than he could imagine. It was, but…

God took Joseph from the position of Jacob’s beloved son

  • to being a slave in Potipher’s household
  • to being a prisoner in Pharaoh’s jail


  • He made him second in command in Pharaoh’s palace
  • He gave him the double blessing traditionally given to the firstborn son

Was God’s plan greater than Joseph could have pictured? Much greater! But it came at a higher cost than Joseph could have imagined.

“Wait,” you say. “I thought sinful people caused Joseph’s pain. Surely you can’t say this was God’s plan for Joseph.” Psalm 105 says it was God who orchestrated Joseph’s steps.

He [God] brought famine to the land.
He took away their food supply.
He sent a man ahead of them.
He sent Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They hurt his feet with shackles, and cut into his neck with an iron collar.
The Lord’s promise tested him through fiery trials until his prediction came true.
The king sent someone to release him.
The ruler of nations set him free.
He made Joseph the master of his palace and the ruler of all his possessions.

Joseph trained the king’s officers the way he wanted and taught his respected leaders wisdom” (Ps. 105 16-22 GW).

This was God’s path for Joseph. No human could have straightened it. Not Joseph, not his father Jacob.

Our verse started by telling us to accept the way God does things. God’s ways are higher—better—than ours (Is. 55:9). Joseph’s years in prison and slavery weren’t a mistake. They were the tools God used to take Joseph from a pampered son to a princely leader. Even Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered (Heb. 5:8).

If Joseph spent any time and energy ruminating over what he could have done differently, it would have been wasted. Joseph couldn’t have straightened his path to reach God’s goal sooner. The path to glory always includes pain and suffering (Rom. 8:17).

For someone who values efficiency, I need this reminder. Life isn’t a straight line.

Have some setbacks caused you to question your calling? Have you tried to rescue your child from suffering? Take heart from Joseph and Jesus. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. Joseph endured slavery and prison. Glory awaits every child of God. By faith we must “Accept the way God does things.”

By #faith we must accept the way God does things. Share on X

Click here to comment.


Photos by: Justin Luebke and Alex Siale

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#Moments of Hope,  #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday,  #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus,  #Fresh Market Friday, #Sunday Thoughts



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  1. Jacqueline Wallace

    Debbie, this is so good, so true. Thank you for an excellent article.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jacque! It helps to remember God’s ways. 🙂

  2. Ann

    Life isn’t a straight line. Debbie I need this reminder too. I can absolutely look back over my life so far and see that while I wouldn’t have chosen certain circumstances – God used them for my good and His glory.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Ann. That is one of the benefits of time. Thank you, for sharing.

  3. Mary Collins


    I’ve been receiving your devotionals for awhile now and just want to say thank you. God’s timing and message are always timely and encouraging. He knows better than I do what I need and He’s always faithful. Thank you for being his faithful servant.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mary, how wonderful to hear from you! Thank you so much. The Holy Spirit continues to amaze me in how He brings what I need when I need it too.

  4. Pam Ecrement

    Oh, Deb, this is so on time today for me as I am reading it! Our oldest granddaughter sat for an exit exam covering 4 years of college with a nursing major, the last step before pinning and graduation this weekend. It was one of those long 4 hour exams that leaves you brain dead, but you get the score within an hour or so. I learned this afternoon that she fell a few points short and she is crushed! She will still receive her pin and graduate, but will need to take a review class this summer and retake the exam in August and cannot sit for the NCLEX until after it is passed. This is the second seeming detour she has experienced in this quest. I am sure she is not at a place to read this now, but as I considered her loss today I was actually reminded of Joseph and felt a peace about God’s direction for her life despite her great disappointment. (Do keep her in your prayers as she deals with this.)

    • Debbie Wilson

      Pam, may the Lord encourage her. I’m always encouraged by how His most favored persevered through many setbacks. It seems to be part of our training (Heb. 12). Give her a hug for me.

  5. Julie Holmquist

    Sooooo good! I, too, value efficiency and straight lines (and , bullet points and cliff notes, too)! I have to remind myself that God is sovereign! Thanks for posting!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Julie. Isn’t it fascinating that the One who has the power to make straight paths allows so many curves in our lives?

  6. Karen Woodall

    We need to remember that the great stories of the Bible (like Joseph’s) often took decades to unfold. Because we can read the story quickly or flip to the end, steals the tension that existed for the people who endured it. It is a much greater testimony to believe when we see just how long Joseph endured injustice and was forgotten and wrongly accused. It should also be that part of the story that we hang onto when we think God has forgotten us or doesn’t move as fast as we’d like. Just b/c it isn’t on our time table, doesn’t mean that He isn’t present and active.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Karen, you are exactly right. And even after Joseph was exalted, the pain of the past didn’t evaporate. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  7. Crystal Storms

    Needed reminder, Debbie, that God ways take longer and don’t always seem to lead where we want. But in the end He works in us and through us to produce fruit we could never produce without the crooked paths.
    Sweet blessings to you! ((Hugs))

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Crystal. I think we all need reminding. I know I do. Bless you, my friend.

  8. Melissa Wentzel Horan

    Yes, Debbie! Setbacks have caused me to question my calling! And, I have spent time and energy ruminating over what I could have done differently! I so needed some encouragement to keep on keeping on this morning, and I so appreciate you opening up the Word and digging into Joseph’s story.

  9. Debbie Wilson

    Melissa, Seeing the whole story of biblical characters is so helpful to me. I think we always find things we wish we’d done differently. But if we are walking with our Lord, we can trust Him to use even our mistakes for our good and His glory. It seems the process is as important to Him as the goal. Bible stories show us God’s sovereignty in the delays and setbacks. His plan will be accomplished. Hallelujah!

  10. Yvonne Chase


    This post is full of profound truth. Much of my life mirrors Joseph. Life is definitely not a straight line. My life resembles the lightning loops roller coaster at Great Adventure. What a Great Adventure it is indeed because God is with me every step of the way.

    God bless you as you continue to write such deep truths from Gods word.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Yvonne. A roller coaster is a great picture of the life of faith! I’m glad God’s strapped us in by His Holy Spirit. Have a great weekend.

  11. Michele Morin

    This is so good, Debbie. I struggle when I don’t understand the ways of God — which is not only unwise, but is practically treasonous since I know (in my mind, anyway) that His way is perfect.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me, too, Michele. I guess that’s why we need to renew our minds daily! 🙂

  12. Meg Gemelli

    I’m so guilty of wanting things straight!! Thanks for setting my thinking…well, straight in a good way. Great post today Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Meg, I do too. We’ll remind each other.

  13. Zoe

    Thank u for this article. I have been struggling as to why God allowed me to walk my path. I will never question His ways.

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