The book of Genesis records the dramatic life of Joseph. It is one of betrayal, forgiveness, redemption, and goodness. When Joseph’s brothers sold him, they thought they would never see him again. Joseph, however, became a leader in Egypt. Several years passed, and Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt for food. They unknowingly met with Joseph, yet Joseph knew who they were. Eventually, Joseph told them who he was, and they were afraid. One of the most beautiful verses recording Joseph’s spoken words of forgiveness is in Genesis 50:20 (NLT) when he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” The goodness of God. What we may think is harmful, God has a plan to use it for good.
Goodness is a characteristic of God and fruit of the Spirit. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as “of a favorable character or tendency, deserving of respect; virtuous, right, commendable; competent, skillful; loyal; of the highest worth or reliability; well-behaved; something conforming to the moral order of the universe; praiseworthy character; in a favored position with; for the best.” Basically, uprightness, excellence, and moral character.
As I look at this definition, I think of blessing—as a gift or someone who bestows a blessing on another. We bless others when we exercise our gifts, our talents, our skills. We bless others when we pursue excellence. This is also goodness. It is that characteristic of God shining forth through us and blessing others.
Back to the story of Joseph. It did not sound that blessed for many years. Yet, after some time, we see the blessings that God bestowed upon Joseph and upon his family. They were blessed because of the goodness God had shown Joseph; and Joseph, in turn, blessed his family.
Can you relate? Sometimes we may think others are out to get us for their own benefit. And that may be true. Let me encourage you that God can truly turn it around and use it for good. The job loss or disappointment could open the door to an amazing opportunity. The move to a new city could pave the way to precious friends and adventures. The personal loss could result in ministry opportunities to share what God has done and is doing in your life with people going through similar situations. What we may think is harmful, God has a plan to use it for good.
God has a plan to whatever comes our way for good. Romans 8:28 is a commonly-used verse, and it is a promise He gives to His children. He will work it out for our good because of His great love for us. He has a plan and purpose for us for good.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28, NLT)