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 50:20)
Today’s big question: could a God who allows suffering really be good?
The passage that we’re pondering today is really an amazing display of God’s plan that was set into place before the universe even began. Joseph had to go through incredible heartache as a result of the horrible sins that his brothers committed toward him. They hated him with a perfect hatred. They sold him into slavery hoping never to see him again. From man’s viewpoint, it appeared that there was no hope that Joseph would ever again be happy.
However, God was able to take an event even as terrible as this and use it for something beautiful. Through Joseph’s slavery, God was able to rescue the entire family of Jacob, which eventually became the great nation of Israel. Wow! What a plan!
There is no such thing as random pain. Ultimately, we know that suffering can be traced to its roots in human sin, which originated in the Garden of Eden. And yet, God has a divine purpose for everything, and He can often accomplish things through suffering that He would not be able to accomplish in any other way.
Because God is omniscient (He knows everything), He truly sees the big picture and knows what’s best. He knows what will bring the ultimate good for the godly, and He allows suffering at times to bring about that ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
As a parent, I occasionally have to do the same thing with my kids. My daughter may not understand why we would have to take her to the doctor to get a shot, but that medical treatment would be for her ultimate good. I can see the big picture in a way that she does not fully understand, Yet, she will probably understand at some point in her life.
One thing you can know for sure is that God loves you dearly. The suffering that you experience is directly related to the presence of sin in the world, but keep in mind that God can use this because of His love for you—this can only be completely understood as it is seen from His eternal, “out-of-this-world” vantage point.
Today’s big idea: suffering can be an extension of God’s goodness when it is viewed from the perspective of God and eternity.
What to pray: pray that God will help you to trust in Him even when it hurts, and ask God to help you to run to Him in times of trials.