June 01, 2023

Purpose to Pain: How God Works All Things for Good

In this episode, Whit sits down with one of our Tulsa Pastors, Chris Turner, to wrap up our series on Joseph. Chris shares his experience of losing his mother and how that tragedy shaped his walk with God. They explore views on the sovereignty of God, how He can use evil for good, and get vulnerable about what it’s like to prepare and preach a message.

Listen to the Episode:

God Works All Things for Good

In Genesis 45:7, Joseph says, “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.” What should we make of this verse? Did God cause bad things to happen to Joseph?

In Genesis 50:20, he elaborates, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

What does Joseph mean? He’s not letting his brothers off the hook for their actions. In fact, he places the blame solely on their shoulders.

Joseph is able to call things as they are in a really healthy way. After a loss, we often think, God, where are you in all of this? We attribute evil to God not being there.

What Joseph recognized is God is always doing something.

He doesn’t deny that his brothers chose to act evilly. But even through the evil and painful things that happened to him, Joseph recognized how God weaved man’s evil actions for good.

“God is so quick to show up in difficult situations we often blame Him for causing it.”

There are dual intentions happening.

The intentions of man are evil. But the intentions of God for the same actions of man are good. We see this on the cross. What man intended for evil, God intended for our ultimate good. God can use evil things against themselves.

Because of Him, evil does not accomplish what it was intended to accomplish.

There is a reality of pain and suffering in our world.

We often want this life and this world to be heaven. When you see loss, death, and suffering, you instinctively know that this isn’t how things should be.

Yet that is the reality of the world we live in. No one escapes suffering. So what should we make of this tension between what should be and what is?

CS Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

Don’t fall into the trap of idolizing the now and trying to make it heaven. It’s only temporary.

However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t care about the world we live in now.

In fact, we are called to love and to love actively:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:14-17).

Everywhere Jesus went, things got better. You are called to do the same.

God won’t lead you to a dead end.

Sometimes, God leads you to a place where you feel there’s no way forward.  Genesis ends that way – God’s people are promised land and still don’t have it.

In fact, there was no nation of Israel for 2,000 years.

Our God provides a way through over and over again. God plays the long game but always preserves His people and keeps His promises despite man’s evil intent.

God is doing something in you every moment of your life.

We often lack patience. Joseph is an excellent reminder to be extremely patient. That often looks like being faithful wherever you’re at in life and remembering that you’re part of a story so much bigger than you.

Even in the toughest of circumstances, there is always a way forward. God promises to be with you in every step, bringing purpose to your pain and weaving man’s evil intent for good.


Check out another blog post:

If I follow Jesus, everything will be easy.


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