And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
God loves to bless His people. In His common grace, He blesses unbelievers, too. The sun comes up, the flowers bloom, the rain and snow fall, and food grows.
God promises that even in difficult times He will take what happens and work it together for our good (Romans 8:28 above). It may not feel like a blessing in the moment but later, when we look back, we see how God changed things for the better. It may not be until heaven that we see it – but we will see it.
I have opportunity to talk to women who have been through abusive situations as children or as wives. For them these blessings can be hard to see. Sadly, these experiences can cause us to have misconceptions about God and His care for us.
One of them told me that she had had a very difficult childhood after being raped when she was 13. She saw it as unfair, God as uncaring, and the perpetrators as unpunished by Him (and her parents and civil authorities). She believes that God was standing by watching her be raped; satisfied that she was getting what she deserved. Even she did not know what she had done to deserve it.
What a sad view of God that revealed an unbiblical understanding. He is the God who is near (Deuteronomy 4:7). He is compassionate (Psalm 103:13). He does not let the wicked go unpunished (Exodus 34:7).
If we consider the biblical account of the life of Joseph, he had some evil experiences. He was hated by his brothers who threw him into a pit and then sold him into slavery in Egypt. At this point the Bible, in Genesis 39:2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.” As a slave God blessed Joseph with success.
When his master’s wife falsely accused him of assaulting her he was sent to prison. The Bible tells us he was completely innocent (Genesis 39). Even in prison, “… the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21). Again, in a terrible set of circumstances God blessed Joseph.
Later, two men from Pharaoh’s court are imprisoned and Joseph prays to God and interprets their dreams for them –accurately. Upon their release, He asks one of them to remember him to Pharaoh and plead his case before him. The man is out of jail for two years before (in God’s providence) he remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him.
He is released and promoted to second in command under Pharaoh! He is blessed again.
Joseph says that God took what men meant for evil and used it for good.
Have we lost Joseph’s understanding of the sovereignty and goodness of God? He is the same powerful and good God who blessed Joseph.
The woman who told me her story had no help from her parents or civil authorities. They told her to remain silent about the attack. I’m not saying that God used this for good – I don’t know why He allowed it. But, unlike this human response, God will comfort. God will provide strength. He will give us wisdom to apply to the situation when we turn to Him.
For His glory, neither will God allow an evil man to go unpunished (Exodus 34:7). For our good, He will provide us comfort when our faith is in Him.
God does not choose to stop every sinful act of man. But, when hardships come, trust God, believe that He will work it out for our own good.
He will do it for His children.