God Will Use Your Trials For Good

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

(Genesis 50:20-21)

Have you ever wondered why you go through so many trials? I know in my life there were times I’ve thought “Lord, surely this is enough! How much more do I have to go through?” I’m sure Joseph at one time or another had thought the same thing.

If we were in Joseph’s time and he told us everything he was going through, I’m sure the thought would be “man, what did you do to have all this stuff come at you?” We always seem to think that when we see a person go through many trials and problems, that they are either sinning or have done something wrong. That’s not always the case though and we see it here with Joseph. Joseph’s father, Israel (Jacob), loved Joseph more than his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. It was prevalent that Israel loved Joseph more as he had made him an elaborate robe of many colors. Israel’s favoritism caused so much jealousy among Joseph’s  brothers that they hated Joseph and couldn’t speak a kind word to him. To make matters worse, Joseph informed his brothers of two dreams he had which showed greatness about him. These dreams showed him reigning over his brothers and them bowing down to him. Joseph being young, only 17, could not see that by telling his brothers about his dreams he was only infuriating them more. Sadly, his brothers planned to kill him but due to a spark of compassion by two of his brothers, his life was spared and they sold him to some Midianite merchants. They, in turn, sold him into slavery in Egypt.

From there, things didn’t get any better for Joseph. He was falsely accused of sexual assault by the wife of his master because Joseph was a godly man who refused the advances of his master’s wife. He was wrongly thrown into jail for years due to the false accusation. After helping two of the Pharaoh’s workers, also in jail, by interpreting their dreams, he simply asked one of them, the cup bearer, to remember him to Pharaoh when he got out as Joseph did nothing wrong to be in jail. The cup bearer forgot and Joseph was left in jail for two more years. By now some would be bitter and ready to call it quits, but not Joseph. Some would have wondered if God had left them, but not Joseph. Joseph trusted God and because of that, God gave favor upon Joseph in the eyes of his master who had made Joseph in charge of everything in his house and land because he saw God’s blessing upon his home when Joseph was there and saw that God was with Joseph. When in prison, everything Joseph did God had him succeed and the warden put Joseph in charge of those in prison and all that was done there. Although Joseph went through extremley hard times causing him to no doubt feel rejected and unloved, God had favor upon him and took care of him.

Sometimes we don’t always understand why we are going through such difficulties, but out of horrendous situations, God has a plan and a purpose. Joseph had no idea why he was going through all of this but he chose to continue doing right in the midst of it and to continue trusting in God. In the meantime, Joseph was being  humbled by his situation, was learning patience and gaining many work skills. Most importantly, he was staying close to God. 

Finally Joseph’s patience and faithfulness to God paid off. The Pharaoh had a dream that needed interpreting and that’s when the cup bearer remembered Joseph. The Pharaoh called for Joseph who interpreted the dream correctly. The dream was a warning that there would be 7 years of a severe famine coming to Egypt but before it hits, there would be 7 years of abundance first. Joseph advised Pharaoh to put a wise man in charge of the land of Egypt who would manage others in storing up the food during the time of abundance under Pharaohs authority to be kept in the cities for food. The food would be held in reserve for the country to be used during the famine and the country wouldn’t be ruined. Pharaoh, seeing that God made the plan known to Joseph and gave Joseph wisdom, put Joseph in charge of the land.

Now the story gets better! When the famine came, Joseph’s brothers had to come to Egypt to get food for the family. This is where God began to heal and restore the family. This is where Joseph would show forgiveness and love to his brothers. And this is where Joseph’s dreams would come into play. They didn’t recognize Joseph until Joseph revealed himself to them. They were afraid because Joseph was now a powerful man in Egypt who reigned over them…one who could easily deny them food due to the way they treated him. But they had ended up bowing before him…just like in his dream. Joseph was a humble man and showed kindness, forgiveness, love and mercy to his brothers. He told them to go back and get his father and their families and come live with him where they would be taken care of.

Joseph went through many difficulties….rejected and mistreated by his family, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison. But during it all he never lost his faith in God and he never allowed his trials to turn him into a bitter and hateful person. He didn’t allow himself to seek revenge on his brothers and turn them away when they came to ask for help. He showed nothing but love and mercy upon them.

Sometimes when we are treated unfairly and with cruelty, our first thoughts may turn towards revenge. However Romans 12:19 states:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Christ also states in Matthew 5:43-45:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

When we are mistreated by others, God will always be by our side to take care of us. God used Joseph’s terrible trials for greatness…to deliver the people of Egypt from famine. God used Christ’s trials and death for greatness…to bring salvation to His people and to deliver us from the grips of death. Though we may suffer persecution and abuse, we may feel pain and rejection, we may feel unloved, we must take heart in knowing that even our Savior, Jesus Christ, went through it. He knows what its like to feel rejected and unloved, to be falsely accused, and to be abused yet His heart still loved enough to die for us. Joseph went through many difficulties but his heart still loved enough to take care of those who caused him harm. How could they do this? Because they had a close relationship with God, their Father. When we have that close relationship with God, we learn to have His heart. In turn, He takes care of us, comforts us and helps us to love and forgive. He is our shield and strength. All we have to do is call on Him.

Call upon God today and ask Him to help you to have a heart like His. When we have a heart like God’s, we may feel the sting from our situations but it will quickly heal. Don’t let another day go by hanging on to cruel words said to you or actions done to you that caused you pain. Let Christ take it from you today. You just have to give it to Him. You never know what greatness God may do out of your trial.

Lord, I don’t want to go another day hanging onto cruel words and actions said and done to me by my others. I want to be free of the pain. Give me a heart like yours…one that loves and forgives others. One that prays for others even when they harm me. One that gives even when I’m mistreated. I surrender my pain to you. Heal me O Lord and I shall be healed. I have faith  and believe. In Jesus name…Amen.