But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is
this day, to save many people alive.”
Genesis 50:20

Bad things do happen to good people. Joseph is a case in point. He was a good young lad, rather cocky and somewhat unwise. He shared his dreams with his family prematurely and without much sensitivity at all. His envious brothers sold him off into slavery and Joseph then underwent 13 years of difficulty, tests and trials before being launched suddenly into his destiny as God’s man for the hour. Joseph was not responsible for his brothers evil actions, something out of his control, but he was responsible for his own attitudes, something within his control. Things turned around for Joseph just when things looked like they would never change for the better. Who knows what would have happened had Joseph given up in despair while languishing in that Egyptian prison so long ago?

In the above scripture Joseph assures his fearful brothers, now aware that he was alive and wondering whether he would punish them for their callous duplicity, that what they intended for evil, God was able to turn it around for good. Not that God engineered the tragic events over those lonely years, but rather that God was with Him and as his faith remained intact and his attitude sound through all the trials. It is not what happens to Joseph that is key here, but what happened in him. His heart was refined and his excellent spirit rose above the circumstances so that he could become a type of Jesus who withstood betrayal of the worst kind to come through for us and stand in the gap as our savior. There may be circumstances outside of your control that are harassing you, but with God’s strength, you can take control of your attitude. Attitude is sometimes the only difference between deliverance and continuing captivity.

Throughout history God has come through for people in tight spots. He is their master in turning bad things around, if we let Him. Our faith and patience keeps the door to His deliverance open. Yet God does not work in a vacuum, He needs our cooperation. He does not capriciously favor this one and holding that one down. Joseph’s humility kept him from developing a victim mentality that would have cut him off God’s mercy and grace.

In the end, after so many years of persecution and seeming delay, all things did work out for good for Joseph. His dream was fulfilled, and God extended Grace and provision to His covenant people. Joseph truly loved God, obeyed His commandments and was called according to His purposes. His story is a classic example of what Paul writes about in Romans.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called
according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

In my experience, sad to say, all too often things do not always work together for good for some. I know I am not in a position to be the final judge, but there are some people I know who say they love God, but their lifestyles do not show that they obey His commandments nor do they cooperate with His purposes. They are really off doing their own thing, in their own way at their own time. Everything they do seems to be coated with a religious veneer, but God is really peripheral to their lives.

When something bad happens, God gets the blame as they begin to question His integrity and their hearts become hardened. This is sad. When God’s nature and ways are understood, and they can, He is seen to be the loving Father who pities His children while working out His divine purposes in and through us in an imperfect world full of uncertainty outside of God.

It is fair to say that in today’s perilous times faith and obedience are not optional extras for some select super saints, but absolutely necessary to please God and survive this life, let alone thrive!

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