“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Joseph’s life was anything but peaceful. It was complicated by youthful folly, broken dreams, and the mean-spirited actions of others. Sold into slavery by jealous brothers. Thrown into prison on false charges. Yet he remained a man remarkable for his lack of bitterness or regret, always seeing God as the “Great Engineer” behind even the worst of circumstances.
In a final confrontation with his brothers, he graciously noted, “You meant it for bad; God meant it for good.”
The theology packed in that statement is astounding. “God meant it for good” means:
You can accept the past – No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle – or too big to be worked for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Just ask Joseph! Better yet, ask his fearful and famished brothers, who were forced to rely on him for survival.
You can embrace the present – There’s no need to play the “what if” game. The past is gone, and no energy you expend will ever change it. The future is in God's omnipotent hands, so you’re free to focus on the present. Your job is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, trusting him to forgive the past and transform the future. Martyred missionary Jim Eliot once wrote, “Wherever you are, be all there” – not living in the past and not fantasizing about the future. God wants you in the present because that’s where his grace will flow.
You can look expectantly toward the future – Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Walking in the Spirit, you can live life to the fullest, unafraid of making mistakes and unconcerned that you may stumble into some terrible circumstance that takes you out of God's control. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is working out some divine plan through you.
· No matter how bad things get – God is still able to bring good out of it. Today, thank God that nothing – no disaster, no delay – is bigger that his ability to turn it into something good and godly.
· Thank God and let go – Thank God that he is sovereign over your past, your present, and your future.
Give God the circumstances, disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins from your past.
Give God your current situation, your disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins of today.
Praise God that he can work anything in your future for godly good, that you can walk in confidence that there is nothing anyone can do to you, or anything you can do that will be beyond the reach of God’s grace and redemption.
· Look for God’s hand – Walking by faith means you see God’s hand even in the most difficult of circumstances. You trust his ability and his willingness to transform the bad into godly good. God is not limited by people’s motives. In other words, it doesn’t matter why someone hurt you, God still can transform a deliberate, mean-spirited situation into something for his good.
· What will you allow God to change? – There it is: some situation, or event, or person in your life that, as far as you can tell, was “meant for bad.” How do you think God meant it for good? Ask God what he wants you to do with this situation (event or person). When he answers, do it. We’re praying for you now.