Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
This verse has become of one of my favorite verses. The encouragement I get from this verse every time I think of it has been a big help to me over the last few years. For context, Joseph is speaking in this verse. This is the same Joseph that was sold by his own brothers and ended up in Egypt as a slave. He was then put in prison under false accusations. However, God had a divine plan for him and he became a leader in the land of Egypt. By doing this, God used Joseph to help Egypt prepare for a time of famine, and in turn he was able to help his family through the famine.
As I consider the historical account of Joseph, I am challenged by the fact that there is no record that Joseph ever complained about his situation. By man’s standards, he had every reason to complain and be angry. However, it is evident that Joseph had a deep faith and trust in God. Joseph recognized that through challenging circumstances, God had placed him exactly where he needed to be. He was put in this position to save the people, including his own family, during years of famine.
I experience some type of pain on a daily basis. From phantom pain, to back pain, to leg pain, I can’t remember a day without pain. The easy response would be to complain and ask why me. However, in a book I recently read, the author flipped that question around and asked “Why not me.” (The Traveler’s Gift, Andy Andrews) We all face different challenges during our lifetime. My challenges have been primarily related to health. From a cancer diagnosis as a child to chronic pain now, I have to be honest and say that sometimes I question, Why me. Why did I have to be the kid with cancer? Why did I have to be the kid with one leg? Why do I have chronic pain? However, when I start asking these questions, I immediately think about Joseph and his response to the challenges he faced. He understood the challenges he faced in Egypt were all part of a greater plan. As stated in the book The Traveler’s Gift, I believe that challenges are gifts and opportunities to learn. I believe that God can use the challenges we face to do good for Him and to teach us things about our own life.
I believe that God has allowed me to face these challenges to be able to identify and help others who are going through similar problems. This ongoing experience has helped me to learn that there are a lot of people who are suffering with something in silence. Sometimes we jump to conclusions or are critical of someone without understanding what challenges they may be currently facing. You never know when someone is hurting physically or emotionally. So, instead of jumping to conclusion about someone, take a step back and consider they may be going through a difficult time and could use some encouragement.
Remember God can use difficult circumstances for good. You may be facing a challenge that one day in the future you will be able to help someone else through a similar challenge. Also, don’t let difficult circumstances get you down. Remaining positive through my chronic pain is very difficult and sometimes I end up thinking about the negative aspects of my pain. However, remember that you control your thoughts and emotions. Dwell on the positive and not the negative. This is much easier said than done, but it is something we should strive to do.
If you have a story to share where God used something challenging in your life for good, please share and comment. Share what you learned from that experience and how it has made you a better person. I’m sure it would be an encouragement to others.