Good for Evil

God is good. A very present help in times of trouble. You guys have probably heard that before. And you’ve probably wondered why God allows so much bad to happen to so many who, we are told, He loves.

It’s been on my mind a lot.  After all, it’s been a tough year at our house.   While thinking about it, I came across an old Bible story I’ve read and heard a thousand times before but this time something new struck me.  It was the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. If you want tough times, that would do it. Your own brothers want to get rid of you and do it in the most cruel way possible. Joseph endured some rough patches as a slave. About the time he makes it to the top as a slave and life is improving, he gets thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.  Still, he doesn’t lose faith.  Eventually he is removed from prison and becomes second in command to Pharaoh and saves all Egypt and many others from famine. During the famine, his brothers come to him for food for their family.  After a little give and take over some time, Joseph lets his brothers know who he is and assures them, he isn’t angry.  He told them that what they had meant for evil, God had meant for good. Now that’s amazing insight.  Thousands of people would have starved had Joseph not been in tune with what God was saying. Joseph heard and responded in spite of the fact that he was a slave and in prison.

I suspect Jesus disciples stood at the foot of the cross and watched Him die unable to see any good in this. But Jesus’ death was necessary to complete God’s plan. The one where Jesus now holds the keys to death and hell.   He came to seek and to save those of us who are lost. His death was necessary to accomplish that goal.  He knew that.

We are just human. We don’t always understand. Sunday, our pastor spoke of Paul stuck at home under house arrest for two years. I’m sure Paul couldn’t picture how he could carry out God’s command to spread the gospel while he was stuck at home.  But, two thousand years later, we know Paul was writing letters that would eventually become a large part of the New Testament.  He’s been spreading the gospel for better than 2000 years.   He just didn’t know that was  how it would turn out. Bad things happen.  Often to good people.

God is bigger.  He can make them good.

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