And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Joseph’s story in Genesis chapter 37 and following is a story of irony. The things that should have worked in his favor actually got him in trouble, and the things that should have destroyed him only made him stronger. His life illustrates a classic case of the good turned bad and the bad turned into something good.
He knew that only God can do this. Joseph served and worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and his father Jacob. He stuck to his faith the best he could through the dark times when God seemed absent as well as the days when God made sense. Joseph’s narrative states repeatedly, “and the Lord was with him.”
Serving in Egypt as a slave. The Lord was with him.
Thrown in prison on false accusations. The Lord was with him.
Joseph might have seen himself as a young man wasting away in prison as a result of injustices committed against him, but God saw something quite different. In God’s eyes, Joseph was the next in line to inherit the covenant promises. Joseph was destined to come under God’s blessing. Along with this blessing came the leadership of a nation. A community of people living according to God’s precepts intended to mirror his glory and redemptive power. God had big plans for Joseph. But first came the training.
Oh, what rigorous training God’s gym holds! Joseph got dropped into the most difficult of circumstances upon his arrival in Egypt. But these trials were not designed to destroy Joseph, rather to strengthen and solidify him. In order to responsibly handle the great task God had reserved for him, Joseph’s character needed formation. Integrity, trustworthiness, honesty, and forgiveness worked themselves into Joseph’s soul and defined who he was as a man of God.
This is often where a person encounters God. In a confined place or situation that may feel like a “prison,” God comes to heal and restore.
In the times when we feel like our life is wasted, God sees value. When things aren’t going the way we thought they should, from God’s view and according to his timetable, everything that concerns us is right on schedule.
In unfairness and injustice God can use the mistreatment of others for his purposes and ultimately for his glory. He can bring good out of negative and painful circumstances.
God works for good in all things. He has called every one of his children to some magnificent and extremely important purpose. If we foster our love for him and stick to our faith in him, we can rest assured that even the worst will get turned into something that serves the best purposes for our lives.