For Your Good
March 10, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him." So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, "Before your father died he commanded, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph: "I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.'" "Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants." Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:15-21.
Donald Batsch (54-years-old) is the owner of the Chester Lane Market in Bakersfield, California. The store was robbed last month (February 2006) and Donald was shot twice. He was shot in the arm and in his abdomen.
Instead of being upset about the attack Batsch says, "It was like an act of God that he shot me."
He also said, "I’m not mad at him (The robber)."
Of course, we wonder how could that be an act of God? Why would Mr. Batsch say such a thing? Because while they were in surgery for the abdomen wound they found a tumor. The tumor could have gone undetected for a long period of time, making successful treatment unlikely. Now Donald will receive treatment and will have a better chance of recovery.
Donald says because of the tumor being found that the robber,"did me a favor."
Genesis 50:20 is known as the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament.
Joseph tells his brothers, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."
It is an incredible statement considering all that Joseph had been through because of his brothers and certainly none of his brothers would have ever said or thought anything like that. The brothers of Joseph thought that Joseph would now take his revenge upon them after the restraining influence of their father was gone. Why wouldn’t Joseph want revenge? After all, except for one brother, they all wanted him dead and would have killed him. They still sold him into slavery where, because of refusing to dishonor his God, he ended up in prison for many years.
For Joseph, however, hindsight is 20/20. He knows that God protected him, cared for him, and raised him to a position of power so that he could do the same for his family during the seven years of famine. They meant it for evil but God used it for much good.
I can look at every bad thing that has happened in my life and see that God has used and is using it for good. That does not mean that I enjoyed or necessarily wanted those things to happen but I understand that through God’s power it has been for my benefit.
Here are a few of those things and situations -
Our youngest son is mentally handicapped - God has used this to allow me to hear His voice more clearly and to be more sensitive and compassionate. God has used Nick in the lives of countless others to do the same.
Struggling financially over a period of years - God taught me to trust that He could provide even when it appeared humanly impossible. I have a greater understanding now of what those with financial problems are going through, a greater compassion, and greater wisdom to help others.
Illness and being hospitalized - This gave me a greater understanding and compassion for those who have to go through something like that. I am a much better pastor now than I was before.
My Mother and Father being unable to care for themselves and others taking advantage of them - This opened my eyes to what so many are going through and have gone through with their parents. Again, I have been allowed to see that God can provide and He has led me through what seemed at one time to be impossible.
I know that many of you have gone through many more difficult things and situations than I have. I pray that you will realize as Joseph did that God can use whatever bad thing or situation that happens for your ultimate good. Remember too that whatever happens, happens in the shadow of the cross, and we can always have the assurance that God loves us.