“May all things happen according to your will,” is a greeting frequently exchanged during Chinese New Year. As wonderful as that may sound, events turn out best when God’s will plays out and not mine.

Given a choice, Joseph would not have wished to be a slave in Egypt (Gen. 39:1). But despite his captivity, he was “successful” because “the Lord was with [him]” (v.2). The Lord even blessed his master’s home “for Joseph’s sake” (v.5).

Joseph would never have chosen to go to prison in Egypt. But he did when falsely accused of sexual assault. However, for the second time we read: “the Lord was with Joseph” (v.21). There, he gained the trust of the warden (v.22) so that “whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (v.23). His downward spiral into prison turned out to be the start of his rise to the top position in Egypt. Few people would choose to be promoted the way God promoted Joseph. But Joseph’s God blesses, despite, and even through, adverse circumstances.

God had a purpose for bringing Joseph to Egypt, and He has a purpose for placing us where we are. Instead of wishing that all things happened according to our will, we could say, as our Savior did before going to the cross, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).