“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
God’s goodness has proved greater than the brothers’ sin. As often as they thought about their sin, the brothers would feel grief and sorrow. But Joseph says to them, “There’s what you did, and there’s what God did. You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”
Evil is very real in the world, but God is on the throne, so evil never has the last word.
From a human perspective, Joseph’s story is about all the evils done to him. The brothers hated him, put him in a pit, and sold him as a slave. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him and caused him to be put in prison. The butler used him and then forgot about him.
You can probably come up with a list of evils done against you: people who hurt you, disappointed you, and let you down. And if that is all you see, you will be a very miserable person. So, reflect on the story of Joseph.
Joseph was fully aware of the evils done against him. “You meant it for evil,” he acknowledged. But he learned to fill his mind with something—or rather Someone—greater by far: “God meant it for good.” He looked beyond what others did to him, and said, “Look at what God did, and all the people who were wonderfully saved from the famine.”
What came from all the pain Joseph experienced? A life that looked remarkably like Jesus. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
What is this ‘good’ that all things work together for in the lives of those who love God? They will be made to look like his dearly loved Son, Jesus. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29).
Can you see one way God is using pain in your life to make you more like Jesus?