A Much Greater Purpose

“What if your setback is actually a setup for what God has for you next.”

Annie Dixon



There is so much hope, wisdom, and promise in this statement.

As much as I’d love to say that I readily see this in my life, I do see it in the life of Joseph.

Joseph was in line to take over as head of the family, but one setback turned into many, and years went by when he didn’t know if he’d ever see his family again, let alone be their leader.

Being groomed to become the head of the family set him up to know God and establish bold faith as he learned his people’s heritage and saw God’s continual deliverance.

But head knowledge isn’t enough to make you a great leader, and God had a greater purpose for Joseph than head of his family.

To fulfill his God-sized purpose, Joseph needed experience making tough decisions, staying true to his faith and character in suffering, and caring for people well.

Joseph got this training through his “setbacks.” He was sold into slavery, sent far from home, made a servant, and imprisoned.

Through all of this, Joseph displayed remarkable character and found favor with all his “employers.” 

As a servant to Potiphar, he was put in charge of Potiphar’s entire household where he acquired small business training. As a prisoner, the guard placed him in charge of all things prison giving him a crash-course in government operations. These two placements along with the lessons from his dad were the perfect stepping stones to his final destination–running an Empire.  

Each setback set Joseph up for a much greater purpose–save Israel from famine.

And as leader over Egypt, Joseph did that with excellence.

Praise God for Joseph’s example, his heart, his character, and his wisdom.

I am definitely not Joseph.

I struggle to see the good in setbacks, and pretty faithfully fail to trust God has something else coming.

Sometimes, I don’t even care if it’s something better; I just need something to happen. 

I felt this a few years ago when my husband and I both were in career…holding patterns. We struggled to see where God was moving and weren’t sure if we’d know if He was. We felt lost and, at times, felt like God was absent. We weren’t even sure what to hope for anymore, we just wanted—something. Thankfully, we knew God wasn’t absent and He was working, but it was a difficult time.

And, eventually, God led us both to new things. It took 4+ years, but the paths were open and we could see where God was leading.

It’s ok to be discouraged.

Joseph felt those moments too.

But don’t let those feelings override what you know is true of God and Trust Him. 

RELATABLE VERSES: John 13:7, Esther 4:14, Romans 5:3-4, Genesis 50:20


Rise Up (Lazarus) — Cain

Overcomer– Mandisa

Trust in You – Lauren Daigle 

Rise — Danny Gokey


How could your setbacks be preparing you for something more?

When have you experienced at time where a setback was actually a setup?

What advice would you give someone to help them stay focused on God during a setback?



Susan E. Greenwood is a wife, a mother, and a mother-in-law :D. She has over 28 years experience in youth and children’s ministries. Susan loves to write blogs, articles, devotionals, and curriculum. She has blogged for bible.org, and authors Mary Demuth, Lynn Cowell and Ruth Schwenk. Susan writes regularly for skitguys.com. Her passion is to help people live their Life In Stride with the Word of God

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