You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
The Bad Situation
Sean had been dating Carol steady for two years. Everyone observed how they were meant for each other. They were so right for each other. Many of their friends just knew they would end up married someday.
Then the news hit. Carol had cheated on Sean. With Sean’s best friend. While everyone that knew them were shocked, no one was more devastated than Sean.
Sean, like most everyone else, thought that he and Carol had a tremendous future together. But it was all gone now.
Sean was listless, melancholy, and wouldn’t leave his room except to go to school.
While there are more terrible things in this world than a seventeen-year-old’s broken heart, it didn’t feel that way to Sean.
The Good That Came Out of It
One Saturday morning, while Sean was sitting at his desk in his room staring out the window, he noticed that the neighbor’s wooden gate was broken.
In the windstorm last week the gate was torn off its hinges. As Sean looked at the gate, he kind of knew what that gate felt!
Not knowing what else to do, Sean put on his jacket and shoes and walked over to the neighbor’s and offered to fix the gate.
Sean’s thinking was that maybe he’ll feel better if he does something nice for someone else. It will, at least, get him out of his own head and miserable thinking.
Sean went down to the local hardware store and bought some new hinges, grabbed his dad’s toolbox and fixed the neighbor’s gate.
When offered compensation for the job, Sean politely refused and instead thanked his neighbor for the opportunity to do something nice.
Sean was appreciative for the opportunity to do something good for someone else instead of just sitting around feeling bad for himself.
Part of the reason, I believe, that God allows bad things – pain and suffering – to happen to some people is so that they see the good that God can bring out of it.
Joseph was a cock-sure teenager with ten older brothers who were just as sure they didn’t like his attitude.
So much so, these ten brothers ended up selling Joseph into slavery! Joseph was a godly young man who trusted that God had an incredible future planned for him.
But when his brothers betrayed him so terribly, Joseph’s world fell completely apart.
Joseph – a slave in a foreign land – would be (falsely) accused of sexual misconduct and imprisoned.
This was bad, very bad. But through all this pain and suffering, Joseph kept his head up and eyes on God the best he could.
Many years later, recalling all this pain and suffering, Joseph would admit to his older brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
His family, and the entire nation of Egypt, were saved from a devastating famine because the former slave and prisoner Joseph was put in a position to save them all.
God turned tremendous good out of a terrible bad.
But as amazing as Joseph’s story is, Jesus story is even more amazing!
He was perfect in every way. He went around doing so much go to others – healing, feeding, even raising the dead.
Yet the authorities arrested him, beat him, then killed him.
A tremendously tragic bad thing. But out of that bad thing came the ultimate good – the salvation of the human race from sin and death.
The Good Doesn’t Erase the Pain and Suffering
Still, death and sin infest this world. This is a lesson for us. The good that happens doesn’t erase the pain and suffering.
Sean did something nice for his neighbor. It didn’t change the hurt and betrayal he felt.
Joseph was able to save millions of people. But that didn’t take the suffering he endured away.
Jesus died to give us life. But that doesn’t completely remove the taint of sin and death in this world.
The good that God brings out of pain and suffering can change us – our hearts and our minds. The good helps us deal with the hurt and cope with the bad.
The good than can come out of pain and suffering is that our faith in God is strengthened.
Heavenly Father, please help me see the good you can bring out of any pain and suffering that I endure. Help me to keep my eyes firmly on you and strengthen my faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2019 True Men Ministries