The rich goodness of God’s Word has grown me and transformed my thinking over the years and I find it continues to do so as the more I study, the more I see connections between old and new testament and find the truth of it all being lived out in my own life.
For so many years, as I’ve shared before, I was terribly restless and discontented. I hated the atrocities I could easily find in this world and I was angry and upset much of the time. I thought I knew and understood far more than what I did, and I’m certain that continues to be the case even after much learning and considerable emotional growth has taken place.
Of all scriptures with stories of real people’s lives recorded therein, I would have to rank Joseph’s, found in Genesis, as one of the most pivotal in not only my thinking, but my feelings also. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers because of their intense jealousy of him and his relationship with their father…need I say more? And yet the outcome for Joseph, though he suffered terrifically for a time, was good. The Lord gave Joseph a discerning wisdom and eventually Joseph was made to rule over all the land of Egypt under Pharaoh. Because of Joseph’s gift from and obedience to the Lord, many people’s lives were saved in a time of famine.
After many years, Joseph was reunited with his brothers and they were fearful of what his reaction to them would be, but Joseph spoke to them saying, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” ” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:20)
When this scripture came to mind this morning, Romans 8:28 came with it which states, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love [Him], to those who are called according to His purpose.” And along with these, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It is not until after we have learned many things that we realize how incomplete or wrong our understanding can be. Many heartaches and humbling failures must precede, for most of us, this coming to terms with our limited understanding. I have learned to “be swift to hear and slow to speak,” (James 1:19) to wait and pray for guidance before speaking or acting. If only I had learned earlier, how much heartache would have been spared?
So as I review again and again this life I’m living, I see that ultimately there is a purpose for good, both for me and for those who come into my life, those who I am to touch and who are to touch me in ways that will mold me and them into the image of God’s Son.
I continue to learn. This learning requires listening for God’s Wisdom in patience and in loving acceptance of His divine will. I love the scripture that shows us God is the Potter and we, His clay. It is found in Isaiah 29:16, “…shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me,” or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding?” Think about this…if we truly believe, as Joseph did, that God has a good purpose for us regardless of our circumstances, then we are able to “trust” and to “lean not to our own understanding.” We are also able to lovingly forgive those who have harmed us and “comfort and speak kindly to them.”
Life is to be a completely different experience for people of faith. It is to be colored by unwavering trust in God’s providence, His perfect will. One of the markers of spiritual growth is the ability to hear God answering with an answer we would not have chosen based on our own understanding with acceptance and peace, knowing that His answer is determined by love and wisdom that far exceeds our own and that in due time we will see that indeed it was for good.
May we all have peace and confidence as we engage this day that He has made trusting that He will bring about good for all who love Him in His own time.