You know, when you think about it, the entire Bible is the story of good vs. evil. God, who is always and eternally good, is at war with Satan and the fallen angels, whose only goal is to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). It’s not about me at all, but I, along with all of God’s children, am caught on the battlefield.
One of the places in Scripture where this ongoing battle is very clear is in Genesis chapters 37-50, the story of Joseph. The bad guys are Joseph’s own brothers. They threaten to kill him, throw him in a pit, and sell him into slavery. Wow! Talk about sibling rivalry! And what does Joseph, representing Jesus, do? He feeds them. And then he brings them to Egypt so that he can more effectively meet their needs.
Doesn’t it seem that people expect others to think like they do? Joseph’s brothers, though bathed in love for years, in the end still expected Joseph to think like they did. They couldn’t believe that he was caring for them out of genuine goodness; they thought he only did it out of respect for their father. And once Dad was dead, they expected Joseph to take his revenge on them. But no. That wasn’t who Joseph was. And it’s not who God is, either. His love is genuine.
How did Joseph do it? How did he respond graciously year after year, trial after painful trial? The answer is simple, but so, so difficult: He took himself out of the equation. It’s not about me, he realizes. I am a tool in the hand of a mighty God, being used to bring good to many people. “You intended to harm me,” he tells his brothers, “but God intended it for good.”
There’s a goal to reach for: recognize that God intends good, not only to me, but to everyone with whom I interact. When stuff happens, it’s not necessarily about me. Sometimes problems are God’s way of helping others through me.
Every believer, over the course of his or her life, has the potential to impact literally thousands of people for Christ. No wonder the enemy tries to stop us, to distract us, to harm us. Let us remember, with Joseph, that what the devil intends to harm us, God intends for the good of those around us.
God bless you!