Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meant for Good

"Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."  But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place?  And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."  
Genesis 50:18-20

If you know the story of Joseph, you will remember that these brothers had put Joseph into a pit to leave him for dead, and then thought better of it and sold him to a passing caravan.  Then, they told their father that he was dead.  Joseph ended up in Egypt, and eventually ended up in jail.  He was finally released when he was able to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh.  The dreams indicated an upcoming famine, and Joseph was promoted to the highest office in the land  Through his wise management, he saved Egypt and also his own family from the famine by storing up food during the years of plenty.

Our lives are filled with problems.  When we are in the midst of trials, whether they are physical, emotional, or situational, we are tempted to put ourselves "in God's place," and to doubt his provision and care for us.  We sometimes get angry, and wonder why a loving God would allow these terrible things to happen to us.  Sometimes we turn away from God altogether.  But we have limited vision.  It's kind of like trying to drive with an iced-up windshield.  We can see only a few feet in front of us, so we drive very slowly.  We have no idea what's coming up next, and we have no idea what's happening around us.  Yes, I know you're supposed to clear your windows before you start out, but I admit to trying to drive like this when I was in a hurry.  Now, I realize I would have been able to drive much faster if I'd taken the time to de-ice the windows first!
Hey!  I can't see!

Followers of Jesus are susceptible to spiritual attacks.  It seems like the closer you get to God, the harder the devil works to bring you down.  I can see this happening in some of my friends' lives right now.  Several people in our church are dealing with health issues, money issues, and family issues.  This is coming just as the church is starting to grow and be more involved in the community.  I don't think it's a coincidence!  But satan has no power over the children of God.  He can do nothing to us unless it is allowed by our Heavenly Father.  And only God can see the whole picture.  He promises that "all things work together for good to those who love God"  Romans 8:28.  

Just as God meant for Joseph's trials to save the lives of many, God means for our trials to bring about good.  We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus.  He is our guide through this myopic life.  When all is said and done, and we can finally see this life all laid out, we will be able to see how our troubles were all used to complete God's perfect plan. 

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