Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Intended Harm vs. God's Goodness...

I finished reading Genesis today. Woot! What an interesting book full of interesting people. I'm tempted to read it through again, but no, I'm ready to plunge into Exodus tomorrow.

For anyone who doesn't think Genesis is relevant, I want to share something I read this morning and how it came to life in my mailbox a little while ago.

In Genesis 50:19-20, Joseph reassures his brothers that he's not going to turn on them now that their father Jacob is dead. He says to them, " Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

To recap, Joseph's ten older brothers were so jealous of him and the favor he had with their father that they sold him to slave traders when he was a teenager. Fast forward a dozen-plus years and we find that Joseph is a powerful ruler in Egypt. Famine is all over the land and his brothers must come to him to beg for food. But Joseph doesn't hold a grudge and invites them along with his father to live in Egypt under his protection.

These brothers, however, apparently hadn't gotten over the guilt of what they'd done to Joseph. Not only had they sold him, but they'd first plotted to kill him. Now that their father is dead, their guilty hearts can't quite grasp that Joseph has truly forgiven them and won't punish them for their evil deed.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..."

Several years ago friends of ours suffered a major spiritual attack. The attack was so great that the family was irreparably broken. The marriage ended, an ungodly union was formed, and the children were left to deal with it all. It was obvious Satan meant harm--serious harm--to this family.

Fast forward to today.

The oldest daughter is now in her early twenties. When her family broke apart, it would have been understandable if she'd turned her back on God. But she didn't. Instead of running away, she ran to Him. When I checked the mail today, there was a letter from her. In it she explains that God has called her into full-time ministry! She'll be part of an intern program this fall where she'll not only learn how to be a leader of excellence, she will also travel the world as a missionary and global aid worker. What an amazing journey!

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..."

What about you? Have you suffered harm? Don't let it stop you from experiencing the good things God has for you!

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