Romans 8:28 is a verse that gives us assurance and comfort. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s been at the heart of our Sunday morning studies for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve tried to make it clear that not everything that happens to us is God’s will for us. The promise is that He can take anything that happens to us in a fallen world, and make something good out of it; if we love Him, and are seeking to live out His purposes in our life. Having hopefully made that clear, I hope I haven’t given you the idea that God’s activity in our life is limited to a clean-up operation.
Duane gave me another book by his second favorite preacher, Alistair Begg, several months ago. It’s on the life of Joseph, and it ended up at the bottom of the stack because I know the story. Or so I thought.
When I finally started reading The Hand of God, I not only realized how much of the story I had overlooked, but I was reminded again that God doesn’t just make good come out of the bad things that happen to us. He providentially, and even directly, causes some things to happen to us. Both good and bad.
Alistair began his first chapter by noting: “The story of Joseph is a tale of jealousy, deceit, slavery, misrepresentation, injustice, lust, rivalry, and forgiveness. It pits brother against brother. We encounter imprisonment and deep trials that do not produce self-pity, and prosperity that does not bring the accompanying pride.
“Joseph’s life encompasses all of this and more—and in it all, the overarching theme is that of the sovereign hand of God manifesting itself in His providential care over His dearly loved children and bringing about all that He has purposed in the affairs of time.”
I don’t think we can discern what God actually caused to happen to Joseph, or what He simply allowed. But it didn’t matter to Joseph. For as he told his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
If that’s good enough for Joseph, it’s good enough for me.
God Bless, Rick