“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God–those whom He has called according to His plan.” Romans 8:28
Two of the hardest things I’ve learned are understanding God’s plan when life is falling apart, and learning in the storm. In the past four years I’ve had to overcome many hardships: divorce, becoming a single parent, transitioning back into the work force, loss of a loved one and child custody issues. I’ve questioned, “God, how can any of this be your plan for my life and how can you use any of it for good?”
I wonder if Joseph felt the same. He was hated by his brothers who plotted to kill him. He was sold into slavery where he was falsely accused. And if that were not enough, he was thrown into prison where he was forgotten. I’m sure he questioned, “God, how can any of this be your plan for my life and how can any of this be used for good?”
Sound familiar? Have you asked the same questions when trials come? Proverbs 3:5 tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Of course this is much easier said than done, especially if you are like me and over analyze every situation and possible solution. But God has words of wisdom for that too, “ ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’ ” (Isaiah 55:8).
The one word that will resolve all anxieties and calm every nerve in every situation is this: TRUST. Trusting in a person means you are completely confident in their: integrity, strength, ability, goodness and honesty. In order to trust a person, you must know the person. To know a person you must have a relationship with that person and to have a relationship you must spend time with that person. As we trust God we find His favor.
“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor” (Genesis 39:20b-21b).
Everything began to change for Joseph. He learned humility, patience, self-control and forgiveness; exactly what he needed to learn to handle the purpose for which God was preparing him. He understood God’s plan for his life and he saw how all the bad was used for good. He said to his brothers, “God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors” (Genesis 45:7).
Through my trials I’ve learned and continue to learn so much about myself and about God. I realize how what could have destroyed me has made me stronger and provided a way for me to minister to others. I see how God has taken the bad and used it for good. Every day, I am understanding more and more God’s plan for my life.
My story is not complete, and neither is yours. What storm are you facing, and how can you trust God in the midst of it?
Will you anticipate all the good that will come from the bad?