“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (New International Version)
We’ve all heard it, and some of us have even said it, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “What good can come of this situation?”
The above scripture tells us that no matter what we’re going through – the good, the bad AND the ugly (ALL things) – God is at work! And not only is He working, but He’s going to make something beautiful out of your troubles and you WILL fulfill His PURPOSE. (He has a plan!)
Let’s look at the story of Joseph. Out of twelve children, he was his father’s favorite son, and his brothers hated him for it. (Read Genesis 37). One day, his older brothers decide that they dislike him so much that they’re going to kill him, until his brother Reuben steps in and says don’t kill him, but put him in a pit. (This doesn’t look good!)
Later, his brothers decide to pull him out of the pit, and sell him into slavery to the Ishmaelites traders for twenty pieces of silver. The traders, then in turn, sell him to Potiphar as his new servant. Sold twice? This definitely doesn’t look good!
Now, Joseph is a servant in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39), and the Bible says in the second verse, “The Lord was with Joseph”. One day, Potiphar’s wife decides that she wants to be intimate with Joseph and he refuses her and she later tells her husband that Joseph tried to have his way with her. Potiphar becomes very angry and throws Joseph in jail. And notice what verse 21 says, “But the Lord was with Joseph.” What? Even through slavery and now imprisonment, God is still with Joseph? Yes, He was still there, working things out for Joseph’s good, preparing his way.
Now, Joseph is in jail and he interprets the dreams of the chief baker and the chief butler. The chief baker doesn’t have a good interpretation, however, the chief butler does. And Joseph tells him, and I paraphrase, “Don’t forget to hook me up when you get back in good with Pharaoh. Don’t forget ya’ boy!” However, that’s exactly what he does, he forgets Joseph for TWO FULL YEARS! Not good at all.
Now, Pharaoh has a dream that no one can interpret, and the butler suddenly remembers Joseph! Joseph is then presented before Pharaoh and he’s able to tell him what his dream meant. Pharaoh becomes so impressed with him, saying in Genesis 41: 38-40, “I’ve never seen anyone like you, someone who the Spirit of God is in. Nor have I seen anyone who is as wise and discerning as you. I’m placing you in charge of my house and my people. Only I will be above you. I have set you over all of the land of Egypt.”
Joseph is now the #2 man in Egypt, and the same brothers who hated him and sold him into slavery, now had to come to him to get food to eat to survive the famine. And we know how the story ends, he’s reunited with his brothers and his father. Joseph tells his brothers, “You didn’t send me here (through slavery and jail), but God sent me here to save your lives (the twelve tribes of Israel) from this great famine.” (What his brothers meant for evil, God turned it around for his good.)
Joseph was seventeen years old when his brothers sold him into slavery, and it wasn’t until he was thirty years old that he stood before Pharaoh. Yet, during all of his injustices, disappointments and setbacks, the Bible clearly says that God was with him! Knowing how the story of Joseph ended, we can clearly see God orchestrating the events of his life. And that’s exactly what He does for us! He’s working behind the scenes – using our pains and frustrations to get us to the position that He has ordained for us to be in. Why? Because we are called according to His purpose, and that purpose is going to be fulfilled in our lives.
God knew that a seventeen year old boy wouldn’t be able to handle all of the POWER that He was going to put into his hands down the road! And so He had to take him through some things, so that when He was ready to promote Joseph, he would be wise, matured, fully equipped, and up for the challenge. He’d know that God promoted him, and no one else! And when God does get ready to promote you, it does NOT take Him long! Just an hour ago Joseph was in jail – an inmate, getting cleaned up to go and see Pharaoh, and now he’s the Governor of all of Egypt! He’s the God who restores!
Joseph never would have stood before Pharaoh and interpreted his dream if he didn’t run into the butler,
- and he wouldn’t have ran into the butler had he not been in jail with him,
- and he wouldn’t have gone to jail if Potiphar’s wife didn’t falsely accuse him,
- and he would have been falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar if he wasn’t their slave,
- and he wouldn’t have been sold into slavery had his brothers not put him in the pit,
- and he wouldn’t have been put in a pit had his brothers not hated him.
Clearly, God was working IN all of these situations.
All things mean just that – all things – the good, the bad and the ugly. Just as God blessed Joseph while he was a servant in Potiphar’s house, and He blessed him while he was in jail, He’ll bless you in the midst of your trials.
And we KNOW that IN ALL THINGS God works for our GOOD! Be encouraged.