Posted by: pmarkrobb | February 5, 2015

intended for good

Let us never forget this fundamental truth of God’s design for our humanity.  What began as a rib from the first man to create a “helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20 ESV) shouts the broader truth that we are designed to live together in community.  Just as with our candle that shines the light of the gospel to a world that desperately needs it (Matt 5:15), our lives should never be hidden from each other.  Along our journey of faith, it is right and good to welcome others to come alongside and do the same in their lives.  I’m not sure we can truly experience the real and eternal life (John 17:3) that comes from knowing God absent the community that is the here and now kingdom of God.

I experienced this fully a few weeks ago after sending an email to a very small group of treasured friends who experienced the first week of home church with my family and me.  I had just finished my first post on Noah and it brought them to mind.  I wanted to encourage them with the very real truth that although God chose different paths for us to follow which created physical distance in our relationships, I still thanked God on every remembrance of them.  For far more than just that day they had made a forever impact on my life and were a sacred part of my own story with God.

One of the first responses I received was from a young woman, Amanda.  She is the daughter of close friends of ours, but has also become a treasured friend.  She thanked me for my email and shared that it had come in the midst of some discouraging days.  It was a welcome and joyful reminder of a day she has thought of often, and brought a smile where it sounded like one was genuinely needed.  So that’s it, right?  A smile for her and a smile for me; God is good … except, that wasn’t all God had for me.

With thoughts and words she could have never known would speak so specifically into my right then, God answered an unspoken prayer of my heart.  These were just a few of her words … “One of my favorite people of the bible is Joseph because of his story. He went through so much but remained faithful to God no matter what. What his brothers intended for evil, God intended for good. I love it. I literally stopped reading her email at the word “Joseph.”

“Unbelievable!” I remember thinking to myself.  “There’s no way she could have possibly known!”

What Amanda could have never known is that I had just been assigned Joseph as my character for the month of February.  What Amanda could have never known was I was initially overwhelmed with the assignment and my heart was unusually unsettled.  But God was ready to speak, and He had chosen the sweet voice of a friend that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in months.

The thought on Joseph in this post today is delivered in the sweet voice of my friend and the God we both love and serve; a God who is so intentional and lavish in His love for me that he used my desire to bless someone else to bless me infinitely more.

“What his brothers intended for evil, God intended for good.”  What a potent reminder of the power and presence of God in our every day circumstances.  You’ll likely never be thrown in a hole by your own brothers and left to die, but maybe you’ve felt utterly abandoned.  You’ve likely never been inappropriately seduced, but I’d bet you’ve been falsely accused.  You may never rise to prominence, but I pray you’ve lavishly forgiven someone you love.

Joseph’s story is a roller coaster ride from a place of prominence to one of ruin and then back again.  He was the favored child who was thrown in a hole.  He was the head servant who was thrown in jail.  Yet he was also the Vizier of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, who saved a nation from famine and restored his family.  Joseph’s circumstances may not be ours, but his story is most definitely our story.

Thank you, Amanda for reminding me that what some may intend for evil in my life, God intends for good.  Thank you, God for the reminder that you are intimately aware of me, and care for me more deeply than my lifespan will allow me to discover.  The kingdom life is one which is lived in community.  Knowing God is the real and eternal life.

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Responses

  1. Having walked with you, Amanda and others through the “intended for evil/intended for good” is resulting in God exchanging what was my prior awareness of Genesis 50:20 with His present, powerful, purposeful and passionate truth of Genesis 50:20 – “the saving of many lives”.

    Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

    We are being called to, and provided with, the opportunity to join in the fellowship of His sufferings……………and the testing and approving of His good pleasing and perfect will, that we may also share with Him – in His Person and passionate will – in “the saving of many lives”. It sometimes sounds in my ear like God is saying, “Jerry, we (He and I) can be about establishing, growing and protecting your (Jerry’s) good, godly Christian name, reputation and effect……………or we can be about “the saving of many lives!” Really!?! God, You have provided that level of knowing and enjoying and sharing in Your thoughts, desires and activities (will)!?! That you have provided for us to share with You, in Your joy, in the saving of many lives!?! 🙂

    Mark…..Amanda, thanks for the being the “jars” that triggered some reflection on Joseph’s words with his brothers in Genesis 50:20. My thoughts will continue. I believe the conversation also carries on to some time and “meditation” over the word “saving” – what do we mean there?……what does God mean? – but we will save that for another day.

    Glad to be in “community” with both of you!! 🙂


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