“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
As part of our nighttime routine Emily and I read Ruth several books each evening. Curious George and the Puppies is a book I have read to our daughter numerous times (I cannot emphasize enough the number of times). Each time I read it I end up wondering about various situations in my own life where I’ve created chaos and turmoil due to my irrationality or my sinfulness. This little story tells of how George unintentionally creates a disaster that then results in a joyful resolution. It is very rarely the case that George figures out the good that could come from his poor decisions. However, the situation involving the puppies reveals that without George’s intrusion the shelter director would not have found a missing puppy that had been hiding in a closet prior to George’s mess. All of Curious George’s stories teach our little girl that despite the bad things happening in the moment, as believer’s in Christ, we have a hope to look forward to – a joyful resolution.
If you remember the story of Joseph found toward the end of Genesis, you will remember that he is stalwart in his faithfulness in God’s plan. He is thrown in a pit by his brothers – fast-forward the story – he then becomes second only to Pharaoh over the kingdom of Egypt. It seems his faithfulness is well-founded. Due to a famine throughout the land, his brothers come to Egypt for assistance and are surprised to find, after he revealed himself, that Joseph is now in control of the grain. Joseph shows grace to his brothers in saying: “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.” Genesis 50:20*
While this story is not likely something we will all experience someday, it shows the character of a man who desires after God’s will – a person with vision, not short-sightedness. Joseph faithfully awaited the resolution of God’s hope. Paul reflects on this mentality in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Let’s be honest, sometimes things aren’t good for us. Sometimes things are downright terrible. Sometimes we do not feel that we are called to any other purpose then to be in a bad place at a bad time. We are often prone to call ourselves God’s steppingstone. How much worse was Joseph’s position prior to becoming second to Pharaoh? But we need not live in a state of constant comparison of who is currently suffering more or who is currently suffering less. The prophet Isaiah tells us that we are made to bring God glory no matter what our circumstance, and He will bring about His mercy and peace for the sake of His own glory…He is jealous for you because you are already His! (Isaiah 43:7) As Paul says elsewhere, be confident of His words, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). You are not a steppingstone, you are a brick building the Temple of God’s presence.
We are like Curious George in the middle of each book. We have wandered away and gotten into some trouble. The situation has grown bleak to the point where we realize we have a problem, but it is our Christ who will show us the tapestry of the story. We are made for His glory; therefore, we can find joy despite suffering because resolution has, and is continuing to, come. There will be days of trouble, but take heart that you have a God who will have His glory, a Savior who will pour out His love. Let us pray thankfully today that even though there are trials, God’s will must be met, His love will display His glory in your story.
Meditate today on the beauty of God’s hand interceding in your times of trouble. Think back on problems that have been resolved and reflect on how God’s hand must have been at work. And remember that remembering is a spiritual discipline!
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
*The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.