Reflection for Fri 29 May

God can turn all things to good

Joseph, a man who was nearly murdered by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused by his master’s wife, forgotten and abandoned by those he helped. Perhaps at times he felt abandoned by God. Yet Joseph’s verdict was: “But Joseph said 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.” Gen 50:19-20
As a result many were saved from starvation.

The unnamed servant girl in 2 Kings ch. 5 was snatched from her home by a foreign raiding party, and carried off to their land as a slave. She too might have felt abandoned by God. Yet it resulted in one of the top-ranking officials in the land turning to God. Who knows what effect that had on many around him?

Paul was falsely accused and arrested, imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, and ultimately, we think, executed. 2 Cor. 11:23-29. Yet in the process he got to speak the gospel to prison warders, soldiers, religious leaders, kings and governors, and even the Roman emperor, Jews and gentiles.

Jesus was crucified by wicked men. Yet this was also in line with God’s purpose.
And even for him we have the cry of dereliction from the cross “why have you forsaken me?”  Acts 2:22-24 Yet through that murderous act, his death, comes the offer of salvation for all who will turn to him. And so despite having to endure the cross, there was great joy as the prize. Heb 12:2-3

For Paul, circumstances, trouble, his own rights, were all secondary to his goal of making Christ known – 1 Cor. 9:19-27

God is able to take any event and bring good out of it. Even the fear, distress, and loss of the current pandemic may cause some to reflect and turn to Christ. So remember, when things seem bleak, chaotic, fearful; God is able to use all things, to turn them around and bring good, even out of what is evil. So, what is your trouble today? Might it also be an opportunity for the love of God, the hope we have, to shine through it, and make a difference to lives around you? This does not mean we have to stand on our heads and call evil good, and pain a joy. It does not make the evil good, it does not lessen the pain, but our God is able to bring good even out of the worst circumstances.

Lord, may we humbly submit ourselves to You, and trust Your power to hold our circumstances in Your hand.
Jonathan

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