God holds the answers and is still at work, even when we can’t see it.
“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. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Genesis 50:20-21
Sometimes it’s difficult to see how God is at work in the world when we see and experience so much suffering. Whether it’s the murder of unborn children in the womb, the alarming rate of youths committing suicide, or the persecution of Christians, it’s tempting to believe that God has withdrawn and left us alone to suffer. In these times, we wonder why our all-good and all-powerful God doesn’t intervene and relieve us of our distress.
Like the Psalmist, we cry:
“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
While there are no simple answers to the existence of suffering, we have a God who is not disconnected from our grief. This is something the Scriptures repeatedly emphasise, and it starts all the way back in the book of Genesis.
In Genesis 30, we encounter a man by the name of Joseph. Joseph was no stranger to suffering. Joseph was his parents’ favourite, and his brothers hated him for this. Out of their envy, Joseph’s brothers stripped Joseph and casted him into a well, where he stayed for some time.
After being captured by Midianite traders and sold as a slave to Potiphar — an officer of Pharaoh — Joseph rose to prominence in Egypt. During his time in Egypt, Joseph was falsely accused of sexually assaulting his master’s wife, and so was cast into prison.
It would have been tempting for Joseph to think that God had abandoned him, and to grow bitter at God. However, this is not how he responded. After a life full of trials and temptations, suffering and sorrows, Joseph was able to boldly proclaim to his brothers:
“…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.”
The faithfulness of Joseph points us forward to One who was perfectly faithful in the face of temptation, and who suffered more than anyone in the history of mankind. The story of Joseph points us to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
While we may not always understand why we are going through particular sufferings, we can be confident that we have a God who fully does. Far from being removed from our trials, the God of all creation entered into our suffering in the most gruesome of ways so that we would no longer be called His enemies, but rather His friends.
At the cross of Christ, God used the greatest wickedness, suffering, and evil ever perpetrated by man — the murder of the only innocent man who ever lived — to bring about the greatest and most glorious conquest ever accomplished. Indeed, what men ‘meant for evil,’ God intended for good, that many would experience salvation through His name.
For this reason, though we do not have all the answers to our sufferings, we have a God who does. Therefore, when we face the pain and turmoil of life, we too — along with Joseph — can trust that God is using the most incomprehensible acts for our good and His glory, even if we can’t see it.
Our Father in heaven,
What a joy it is to have a God who is not distant and disconnected from our experiences, but a God who entered into our suffering out of Your great love for us.
Comfort us with the knowledge that You love us, and that You are working all things together for our good and Your glory, even if we can’t see it. Embolden our hearts to cry out to You when we face griefs of many kinds and lead us in these times to anchor our hearts in Your goodness and grace.
Help us in the mist of our suffering to reach out to others with the message of your goodness and grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Prayer Points for October 2020
1. Pray for Revival and Transformation for Australia
2. Pray for 1 Billion people worldwide to hear the Gospel
3. Share the Good News of Jesus with 5 people
James Jeffery is a trainee Presbyterian minister from Sydney with a passion to see Christian Values restored in our society. He is also a journalist with the Daily Declaration.
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