Meant For Good

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 50:20

These words were spoken by Joseph to his brothers who first intended to kill him, but when the opportunity came, instead sold him into slavery. Joseph's father had unabashedly loved Joseph more than his 11 other sons and Joseph added fuel to their anger by tattling on his brothers (Genesis 37:2) and then telling them of dreams he'd been having in which his brothers bowed at his feet (Genesis 37:5-11). Strangely it is the dreams that really upset the brothers rather than the things that actually affected the quality of their lives. Their jealousy and anger reached such proportions that they acted upon the evil they felt and sold Joseph to passing merchants who just happened to be on their way to Egypt.
It is such a strange twist of fate when the very actions we take to avoid a situation cause it to happen. By selling Joseph into slavery, his brothers were actually setting in motion the events that would lead to the fulfillment of Joseph's dreams. These situations are easy for great and mighty God to arrange. It is an amazing comfort to know that God's abilities are without limit and that we are His children.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

This was true for Joseph and even though Jeremiah had not yet written these words, Joseph understood them instinctively and he never doubted. Even falsely accused and imprisoned, Joseph never stopped praising God.

Often while we are enduring our own trials, it is hard to hold on to our confidence that God works all things for our good. We hurt, we worry, and we doubt. Occasionally things that happen feel like a punishment.  We are not capable of seeing the whole picture and the simple task of not doubting is sometimes as much as we can manage. Leave the details that are not assigned to you and the outcome up to God. It is His anyway and who else could you possibly trust to use it for the greatest good? 
C.S. Lewis put it well when he said:
"Satan is without doubt nothing else than a hammer in the hand of a benevolent and severe God.  For all, either willingly or unwillingly, do the will of God: Judas and Satan as tools or instruments, John and Peter as sons.” (The Collected letters of C.S. Lewis, vol. 2.  Letter to Don Giovanni Calabria, 9-20-1947). 
I think of this idea often when I struggle with obeying God and must continually resolve to be a willing servant of a God that I look to and that I trust with my future – mine and everyone else's as well.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

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