Good times, bad times, God’s plans

What we think is bad times, turn out to be God’s good plans for us.

Gen_50:20  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Joseph was an amazing man.

All he ever wanted to do was to honour his father and His God, but it seems that every time he took a step forward, he got knocked back a few.

His brothers were jealous of him so they sold him into slavery.

He hadn’t done anything wrong – I guess he could have been a little more circumspect when telling his dreams, but even so this was a bit extreme.

We don’t know what Joseph thought about this situation, but who could blame him if he began to wonder what he had done wrong to deserve this.

But, once in slavery, he worked hard, honoured God, and was promoted to the head of the house.

His thoughts probably slowly changed to “How good do I have it now?”

But Potipher’s wife decided Joseph was a bit of alright, and so she tried to seduce him. When he refused, the master’s wife accused him, and had him arrested.

Now this time he not only did nothing wrong, but he did exactly the right thing, and still ended up in prison.

While he was there, he once again honoured God and worked hard and became respected in the prison.

He eventually, through certain circumstances, came to the attention of the king, where his great wisdom and hardworking attitude finally brought him to the prime-ministership of Egypt.

Eventually, years after he was sold into slavery, his brothers came to Egypt looking for food during a time of drought. They didn’t even recognise Joseph, but when it was made clear, they feared for their lives. They feared that Joseph would now take his revenge.

And that is where the verse I noted at the start comes in:

Gen_50:20  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Joseph learned through his life, that what we see as bad things are not always bad things.
Sometimes these “bad things” are God’s way of directing us into the place he needs us to be so that He can better use us. But we are so busy trying to get out of slavery, or out of the prison we have found ourselves in, that we forget to serve Him where we are.
If only we could take some of Joseph’s attitude and bottle it up so that we could get it out when the bad things happen and take a drink of that quenching water and say “God meant it unto good”.
Paul was another who had things in some perspective:

2Co 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2Co 4:18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I love it where Paul talks about “our light affliction”.

I would love to see what Paul considers heavy affliction! If constant imprisonment, suffering a stoning, being beaten often, being without food often, being shipwrecked are “light affliction” then what counts as a heavy affliction?

Certainly not the small and petty things that bring us down, I think I can safely say that.

Paul’s focus – the reason he could speak in such terms – was on eternal things, not on earthly things.

Maybe if we got our heads out of this world and its treasures and pointed our faces and our eyes toward the eternal things and the things of God, then we might actually be a little bit happier with our lives as we continue to walk, crawl, and drag ourselves through this light affliction.

Mat_6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


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