When Bad Things Happen….

to good people.

It’s hard to understand.

I sometimes ask ‘why’?  Do you ask ‘why’?

And then I read about Joseph’s trials in Genesis and the answer is pretty clear.  A long list of bad things happened to Joseph and God worked to bring good out of those bad things.  Joseph’s faith and wisdom grew as he trusted God through it all.

I don’t believe that God caused all of these bad things to happen to Joseph.  I don’t believe God causes all the bad things that happen to you and me.  Some of them happen because we live in a world where we all sin, we all make bad choices.  We pay the consequences for our sins as well as other people’s sins.  And Satan is working relentlessly to entice people to sin.  He is creating a lot of our trials.  I don’t understand why some people get mad at God when bad things happen – they should get mad at Satan who is doing the dirty work.

Yes, God is in total control so he could stop the bad things from happening.  But we have free will and sometimes we choose to sin.  Other people choose to sin.  There are consequences for those bad choices. When we, as believers, get to where we’re going (heaven) we will no longer sin and there will be no more negative consequences.

you-intended-to-harm-meHere on earth – where God is with all believers like he was with Joseph – he can use these consequences so that something good comes from them.

This truth makes the account of Joseph’s life very important to me.

His brothers sold him into slavery but – wait.

Then he’s put in charge of the top Egyptian official’s house.

The official’s wife lies to get Joseph in trouble and Joseph is thrown in jail.

But – wait.  God was with him and he was put in charge of the prison.  Joseph helped the Butler and Baker get out of prison – good news for the Butler because he got his old job back, bad news for the Baker who was killed.  The Butler forgot about Joseph for 2 years (2 years!) until Pharaoh had a dream and Joseph was called out of prison to interpret it.  Pharaoh was so impressed that he made Joseph 2d in command, right under himself.

From that position, Joseph was responsible for saving the lives of a whole nation.  A serious famine was coming and God spoke a warning through Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream.

God was with Joseph through all of the bad things that happened to him, making sure that he ended up exactly where he needed to be in order to fulfill his destiny.

Joseph also saved the lives of his brothers who had sold him into slavery.  This indicates the level of maturity and faith Joseph had acquired through his trials.  Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ” Genesis 50:20.  Joseph could never have predicted the part he was going to play in the huge famine that was coming.  God knew. And he was with Joseph every step of the way.

Joseph’s story encourages me as I watch God bring good out of the tragic death of my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty.  And God has been with me every day as I learn to live with the grief and pain of losing a child.

And he wants to walk through your trials with you, too, – if you will let him.  He wants to bring good out of the bad things that happen to you – if you let him.

Thank you, Abba Father.

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