"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be Like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
-Isaiah 58:11 (NIV 1984)
I Am Sure That You probably have a few favorite scriptures that you refer to consistently. One scripture that ministers to me is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
I like this verse in the New Living Translation: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Oftentimes when adverse situations and circumstances come our way, we wonder what good can come out of them. Many have had the mistaken idea that when they accepted Christ as their Savior, their life thereafter would be a bed of roses.
The Apostle Peter warned us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). The enemy would love to discourage you and destroy you. He knows that a believer in God is dangerous to him. He knows that you are going to make a difference in the Kingdom of God and that you will help tear his kingdom down. You are a threat to him. It is important to do as the Apostle Peter advised: “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are” (1 Peter 5:9 NLT).
When difficult circumstances arise, I encourage myself with Romans 8:28. In going through what sometimes seems like fire, I say to God, “Lord, I may not understand this situation. But I am confident that You will cause this to work for my good. What the devil meant for harm in my life—You will turn it around for my good.”
I am quite sure that Joseph did not understand some of the situations he encountered. I love Joseph’s story. (See Genesis chapters 37–50.) Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, and his brothers hated him because of that. Then Joseph had dreams in which his brothers, and even his father and mother, bowed down to him. He told those dreams to his brothers, and they hated him all the more.
As you read the story—and I encourage you to read the entire story—we see that Joseph’s brothers planned to kill him, but then they decided to sell him into slavery. Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave in the house of Potiphar. I am sure that at this point, Joseph was wondering if all things were working for his good.
In the midst of his captivity, Joseph was blessed by God and found favor with Potiphar. Then he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and ended up in prison. However, despite his circumstances, Joseph maintained the right attitude. He continued to love God in spite of what had befallen him, and God blessed him in prison. He found favor and was put in charge of all the prisoners. And he interpreted dreams while he was there.
One day Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. He heard that Joseph could interpret dreams and called for him. When Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dream, notice Joseph’s response: “ ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires’ ” (Gen. 41:16 NIV). Joseph maintained a humble attitude, knowing that only God could give the interpretation.
The essence of the dream was that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in the land. Joseph explained a plan to survive the famine, and Pharaoh appointed him to carry it out. Pharaoh gave Joseph the following orders: “ ‘You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you’ ” (Gen. 41:40 NIV).
What seemed like a horrible situation in the beginning turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for Joseph. Remember, when situations come your way—trust God. He will cause everything to work out for your good.