When God Uses Your Difficulties For Good
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
There are times we go through life and have wondered “God, why did this happen to me? Why did I have to go through this?” As we sit and think about this, we sometimes come to the conclusion that it’s either all the enemy’s fault, God stopped caring or worse yet…we just have bad luck. In reality, it’s none of those things.
It’s true, the enemy can tempt us into going into a different direction than where God wants us to go or wreak some havoc in our lives, but we ultimately make the choice to do what we are going to do. We can be tempted to drink, do drugs, gamble, overeat, allow our anger to get out of control, etc, but in the end, we have the freedom to choose. Are there times where we may be forced into certain direction by other people? At times, yes, but even when we have encountered those times, God will eventually use it for good and to help others if we remain faithful to Him. We see this very thing in the life of Joseph.
In Genesis 37 – 50 we learn a lot about the life of Joseph. When Joseph was 17, he had a couple of dreams which showed his family bowing down to him. This caused strife and jealousy among his brothers towards him to the point they came up with a plan to get rid of Joseph. What Joseph and his brothers hadn’t realized was that although his dreams were true, he was shown something that would happen in the future and not at this time. What Joseph also wasn’t aware of was that he would go through many difficult trials in the coming years that would prepare him for the position and work God had planned for him in order to help others.
Joseph went through many trials that could have caused him to call it quits. He was thrown into a well by his brothers and left to die only to be lifted out and sold into slavery. He was falsely accused of sexual harassment by his master’s wife because he kept his integrity and refused her advances. When thrown into jail over this matter, Joseph was later forgotten by the chief baker he had helped who said he would speak to Pharaoh about him. All of this would make anyone think that God had forgotten them, yet Joseph continued believing and trusting in God to deliver Him and it paid off. It wasn’t until Pharaoh had a dream of a coming famine to the nation that Joseph’s deliverance was about to come. The chief baker heard of the Pharaoh’s dream and now remembered Joseph and informed the Pharaoh that Joseph had correctly interpreted his own dream. Pharaoh called for Joseph who interpreted his dream to mean that though there were seven years of plenty coming to the nation, right behind it would be seven years of famine (Genesis 41). Joseph then told Pharaoh what he needed to do to prepare in verses 33-36:
33 “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.”
God had used all those years of Joseph’s captivity to prepare Joseph for the job he had for him at this very time. When we go back over Joseph’s years in captivity, we can see it forming. We see in Genesis 39:1-6 that Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house, but because Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph and that everything Joseph did was successful, he put Joseph over all of the affairs of his house. When Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into jail, we see in verses 20-23, that the Lord was with Joseph again and showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. The warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Both of these management positions prepared Joseph for the main job God was preparing him to do.
Here we see a man that was treated harshly and wrongly due to the jealousy of his brothers, spent many years in captivity (about 13 years) yet kept his integrity and faith in God. Because Joseph followed God’s commands even in captivity, God protected him and prepared him for a much bigger job that would save God’s people from perishing in the famine. Sometimes we don’t understand the trials and problems we go through, and that is when we must pray to the Lord and ask Him to show us what we must see out of our situations. In those times, He will prepare us and break us of things that need to go in our lives. In those times He will heal us. Sometimes we may want to do a worse job for the people who treat us badly or not work for them at all, but in this case, God tells us differently. In Colossians 3:22-24 we are instructed to do the following:
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Though this scripture was given in the New Testament, Joseph was already following it in the Old Testament. God’s commands do not change no matter what situation we are in.
Whatever situation you are in, know that when you follow what God commands you to do in His Word, the Bible, He will provide for your every need and utilize your situation to better you and for a purpose that will help others and glorify Him. Though others may set out to do things to cause us harm, God will see it and use it for good and glorify Himself in the process. Remember, there isn’t anything He isn’t aware of and nothing surprises Him. When you walk two feet in the spirit, you won’t look at things from a worldly perspective but rather from a spiritual one and this will help us through each difficulty we come too.
Wherever you are at, don’t be discouraged. Hang tight and continue praying, having faith and being obedient to God’s Word. God will honor that.