Most people are fimilar with the phrase "when bad things happen to good people." I don't believe that God tests people with "bad things." I do believe that God uses the tough times in our life to remind us that we need Him in everything we do, no matter if we are in the valley or on the summit. There is also another part to this. Good people can do everything right and "bad things" still happen. I was reading Genesis 39 and 40 the other morning and was reminded of this. If you aren't familiar with the story, let me recap it for you.
Joseph was hated by his brothers, thrown into a dry well, then sold to slave traders. (When you do everything right and bad things still happen.) He ended up at the Pharaoh the King of Egypt grounds and he became a house servant. Now this would probably make us pretty upset at God. How could such a thing happen? Where is God? But the story gets better. Potiphar - the King - saw that the Lord was with Joseph and promoted him to personal assistant. Joseph was in charge of Potiphar's entire household and everything he owned. A pretty important role in the those days! Now an interesting thing happened. God began to bless Potiphar's household for Joseph's sake (Genesis 39:5). His crops and livestock were bountiful and his household was running smoothly. God was blessing Joseph through Potiphar. Translation to us today: God might bless someone because we are doing our job that God has called us to do.
Then the story takes a turn. Joseph was handsome. (In my own mind I'm picturing tall, blue eyes, handsome and a killer smile.) Potiphar's wife noticed the handsome man and wanted to sleep with him. But Joseph refused. One day when no one was around, she grabbed him by his coat and begged him to sleep with her. Joseph fled from her and in the process his coat was left in her hands. When she realized this, she gathered the servants and said "Look! my husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his coat with me." Genesis 39:14-15.
Now you and I both know the truth. Joseph fled because she tried to get him to do something wrong. When you do everything right and bad things still happen.
Moving on in the story. When her husband, the king, came home she showed him the coat and told him the untrue story. The king was furious and threw Joseph in prison. PRISON!! Can you believe it? When you do everything right and bad things still happen.
The story takes another turn. I love verse 21 "But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love." See, even when we are in the dark valley God is still right there with us. Powerful. "And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Long story short, Joseph was put in charge of the other of the entire prison. Verse 23: "The LORD was with him (Joseph) and caused everything he did to succeed." Even in prison. Even in our dark valleys, God is still with us. Always remember that.
Now I'm not Joseph, but if it was me, my reaction and attitude would have been "this is not fair! That's not the truth! Your wife made it all up - I was doing the right thing." I probably would have felt sorry for myself and asked God "why are you punishing me for doing some good/right?"
What would your response be? Think about it. Moving on.
The story keeps going though. Now Joseph was a dream teller and some of the prisoners had dreams. Joseph explained what they meant and sure enough what Joseph had said would happen, did. Fast forward two years later, the King had a dream. Actually two dreams. And he was very troubled by them. And all of the magicians and wise (smart) men of Egypt could not tell the King what the dreams meant. Then the king's butler went to the king. (The butler was one of the prisoners that Joseph had interpreted the dream for a few years ago and had forgotten all about Joseph. When you do everything right and bad things still happen. )
The butler explained what Joseph had done and the King called right away for Joseph to tell him what the dreams meant.
Genesis 41:16 is an important verse: "It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease." Meaning man can't know the future, only God can.
So the King told Joseph his dream and Joseph responded with God told him to. The dream was the classic story of seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Jumping ahead, Joseph was put in charge of the ENTIRE LAND OF EGYPT. Can you believe it? What a roller coaster! From being sold by his own flesh and blood (his brothers) to then being the King's personal assistant to getting thrown in jail for something he never did to being forgotten about by the butler to being put in charge of a country. When you do everything right and bad things still happen.
Joseph was a good person, did everything right and "bad things" still happened to him. Did he get angry or bitter? From reading the Bible, it doesn't say. It does say that he was faithful to God in whatever he did.
This entire story reminded me that things will happen to us that make no sense whatsoever. Instead of questioning "why God" or "why me," getting bitter or angry, remain faithful in what God has called you to do. God still loves us. God still cares for us. And God is with us in the dark valley or bright mountain top.
When you do everything right and bad things still happen, God still blesses you.