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.
When we look at scripture, we see what God has given for us to know. We find His promises, His character, His commands, and His revealed will for our lives, amongst other things. The way in which these things work themselves out in the lives of the characters in the Bible are varied in many ways.
In the book of Job, we find a man suffering for what seems to be no apparent reason. Yahweh calls him His servant and points out how he has lived a righteous life. Satan challenges that notion and says, in essence, that Job is only the way he is because of the good things in his life. God proceeds to allow Satan to basically do any and everything but kill Job. As readers of this story, it is easy for us to draw certain conclusions like “Job should know better” this is because we have the information in front of us. We see why these things are happening to Job, but from the perspective of the people in the story, it is a mystery, or is it?
In the life of Joseph, found towards the end of the book of Genesis, we find that there is a lot of drama in this story. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers, sold into bondage in Egypt, falsely accused of adultery and thrown into prison, and experienced living through a great famine. Throughout all of the suffering, and injustices that Joseph experienced, nothing we read infers that Joseph knew what was going to happen next, but what we do find is that Joseph held on to what he already knew.
We must challenge our hearts, and ask the question, how much faith do I have in the will of God for my life, and the lives of others? How much does an individual trust that though he does not know why he has lost his mom, he doesn’t know why his son was murdered, or he doesn’t know why he is paralyzed from the waist down, that God is working out His will for His glory and for our good, in that order? As my good friend Doug told me recently, sometimes people have faith that is a mile wide and inch deep, and when suffering comes, the life of a Christian doesn’t seem so appealing anymore.
I recently had some tests done that showed some signs of a problem with my liver, and I need to do some further tests to see what the issue might be. The results could be just about anything at this point. This was probably the first time in my life that I had to think about something happening to me healthwise that could potentially be life threatening. To my own surprise, my mind did not instantly move towards a prayer for healing, but I suddenly had a great movement in my heart and mind towards how good God is. I say none of this to make myself out to be some kind of a super Christian, but as an admonition for us to always be thinking about God’s goodness--come what may.
A songwriter once said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” We must hold tight to the truth that God is sovereign over all things that come to pass. If we remember, and hide in our hearts what God has revealed to us in His Word, then when something happens that we in our finite minds do not expect, our response will be very different. It is the difference between Israel wanting to go back to the leeks and the onions of Egypt, and Job saying “though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.”
“May we always remember that the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Heavenly Father. The sun, moon, and stars are in your hands, the nations are a drop in a bucket in your sight, and You own the cattle on a thousand hills. And yet, in your tender love and mercy, you show great care in even the smallest details of our lives. Help us to remember your goodness in the midst of the most crushing circumstances. Help us not to fear the unknown but to embrace what we do know--that you are faithful, just, and righteous. We ask these things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Son and our Saviour. Amen.