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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”—Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
Have you ever watched a movie or TV show where the main character goes through a crucible before becoming the hero we all know and love? I think of Thor losing his power and hammer and becoming mortal to learn what it means to be a true hero and Alexander Hamilton as he overcame his early years to become one of America’s most influential founding fathers. These stories resonate with us because we’ve all experienced trials, tribulations, and trauma. That’s why we can empathize with these characters because we’ve walked through crucibles of our own en route to becoming who we are today.
And out of all the stories throughout history—fiction and non-fiction alike—it’s hard to think of anyone whose journey was as extreme as Joseph’s. From receiving a divine dream of great prosperity and authority to being assaulted and sold into slavery by his jealous brothers; from ascending to the top of Potiphar’s house to being unjustly thrown in prison; from being forgotten in an Egyptian prison to being exalted to the second highest position in Egypt through which God preserved the lineage of Israel, Joseph’s journey shows us something very powerful that he summarizes with one simple statement: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”
Allow that to settle in. The deepest, darkest moments of Joseph’s life served as a springboard to the amazing purposes and plans God had for him! The struggles were a stepping stone to the wonderful work God would do in and through him. Each moment, each twist and turn, every low, every high . . . God was redeeming it all, weaving together a beautiful tapestry that Joseph was able to look back on in Genesis 50 and realize it was all in service of something greater than he could have ever dreamed.
The Lord sovereignly used the evil efforts of Joseph’s brothers to accomplish the greatest good not only for Joseph, but also for his brothers and countless others! Can you believe that? In the end, there was reconciliation, restoration, and redemption for Joseph and his family because as Romans 8:28 (NIV) tells us, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Now, here’s the most amazing part of this whole thing: Just as we see in Hamilton’s life, in Thor’s journey, and in the lives of Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, David, and so many others throughout history, we see that all of human history points to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! He is the center point of existence, the thread that weaves the wild and topsy-turvy tapestry of our world. God used every event, every tragedy, the flood, the rise and fall of Israel, every empire, and every mountaintop and valley to bring us closer to Bethlehem and the birth of His Son.
Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, He redeemed every moment that had come before. But it doesn’t end there, because just as every moment preceding His arrival on the scene points to Jesus, every moment since His ascension to heaven points back toward His saving work! And even today, in this year, in this season, in this moment, God is using all things, even evil, to bring about redemption through His Son.
Christmas is the catalyst, the thread that redeems and resolves, that brings purpose and peace to all things! So, as you examine your life, I pray that like Joseph, you can see in every instance, whether good or evil, that God has used it for your good, for your redemption, and to bring you to Christ Jesus, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.