Turning bad things into good

Is God able to turn bad things into good?  I believe he is.

Some Christians might object: How can he turn the death of my son or daughter into something good?  How can he make something good out of chronic pain that has blighted my life?

Those are tough questions to answer.

The only answer I can give is the well-known and often-quoted verse in Romans 8: “And we know than in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

That suggests to me that God works for my good in all things – good and bad.

It doesn’t mean that God inflicts pain and suffering on us.  But it indicates that God is able to use hard things for our ultimate welfare.

There is a great story that illustrates this in the Old Testament – the story of Joseph.

Joseph was the spoiled young son of Jacob and he lorded it over his older brothers, saying they would some day bow down to him.  They planned to kill him but then sold him to slave dealers, telling their father he was dead.

He went through great trials as a slave in Egypt, unjustly accused of trying to seduce his master’s wife and being thrown into prison.  It looked as if he was going to rot there.

But he was able to interpret dreams and he did so for the king of Egypt.  The king of Egypt reacted by making him the second most powerful man in the kingdom.

When Joseph’s brothers came to seek grain in Egypt during a famine, he revealed himself to them and they were terrified, expecting retribution.

But in an act of great mercy, Joseph told them that despite their evil intent, God had used the whole adventure for good.  He said “it was to save lives that God sent me here ahead of you.”

I may be unable to understand why bad things happen to me.

I can be sure, though, that God is working to change me as he changed Joseph.  And I can be sure that God has a plan for good and that I am part of it.

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