“Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.'” (Gen. 50:20)
As I have confessed before, there’s a whole lot I don’t know. Especially when it comes to why horrible things happen to godly people. I can point to verses that talk about God working in mysterious ways and how he works all things together for good, but at the end of the day, I’m unable to explain why God couldn’t have worked it out for them in a less painful way.
That’s when I yield to faith. I yield to what I know of God and his character. I yield to what I know of his proven track record in my own life. And I have to fall down on my knees and confess that he is good and that I have nowhere else to turn.
Joseph comes to mind. If anyone in the Bible had a right to play the victim card, it was Joseph. Sold into slavery by his own flesh and blood, falsely accused and slandered by the wife of the man that he had done nothing but serve faithfully for years, and forgotten in prison by those who promised they would remember. I would have thrown in the towel long before then.
But Joseph chose forgiveness. He chose to look with eyes of faith to what human eyes couldn’t see– that God was working even in the worst of circumstances to save not just one man, but an entire nation. He, like so many others, looked to the promises of God and counted them as good as done even when they seemed as good as dead.
I love what a pastor says. God can take that worst moment of your life, that most painful and humiliating season, and make it the first line of your testimony. To borrow a quote I’ve heard a lot lately, he can turn your mess into your message, your test into your testimony, your trial into triumph, and the victim into a victor. You will be able to speak to the pain that no one else can touch because you’ve walked through it.
I love this verse in Hebrews 11: “By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.” In other words, Joseph saw that God was able to redeem every single part of what he went through for a purpose far greater than himself. A purpose that saw the rise of a people of God, and later the Messiah.
May you and I see our circumstances with that kind of faith. May we trust that God is just as able to redeem our pain to make something equally as glorious and beautiful out of our messes.