God’s Plan and our Sufferings

February 25, 2023

In the midst of suffering, we can lose perspective of God’s sovereign hand and get discouraged. No one likes suffering! We all go through it in our lives. Yet if we know God knows, we can get through it without getting stuck in despondency and bitterness. In this life we face many pains; but we can rise above them with His perspective in our hearts. God’s biblical perspective is this: God is fulfilling His eternal plan for us and others around us, through our suffering! Yes, God is at work each and everyday! But we often cannot see it! For we get blinded by despondency or a bitter heart. But make no mistake! He is at work! He is working to shape us in His image!  He is at work advancing His kingdom purposes through our suffering (Romans 8:28-30; II Cor. 1:3-7; I Peter 4:10-19; I Cor. 12; Romans 15:20; Luke 9:23-27)!  

A tremendous example of this is the life of Joseph. He was thrown in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery and ultimately ended up in prison on a false attempted rape charge!  Yet the Scriptures say God was with Joseph and was working out His divine plan for His life in preserving Israel. During the worst famine North Africa and the Mediterranean has ever seen, God selected Joseph to rise to power, second only to Pharaoh. In this new position, Joseph wielded his authority to preserve not only Egypt, but ultimately God’s people Israel. When his brothers saw Joseph’s power and understood their perilous position before him (for they had earlier betrayed him, selling him to the Midianites, who then sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh), they were afraid of Joseph’s retaliation.  Listen to Joseph’s words to them:

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer.  And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. “And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. “For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:4-8)

“And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”  (Gen. 50:20)

Yes, it took Joseph some time to prayerfully reflect and comprehend God’s eternal plan for his life. But Joseph, as an older man, learned God’s perspective amidst life’s many sufferings. Yes, God is at work in and through us, even amidst life’s many injustices, to fulfill His higher, more divine purposes for our lives. We just have to look for it with a discerning mind.    

So during this new 2023 year, don’t let life’s struggles knock you off course and fall into the slough of despond. Walk in faith and trust His sovereign plan over your life; don’t get stuck in doubting Him! For He always knows what He is doing, even when we may never know, as Joseph did. Trust His sovereign hand over your life; He is at work, even when the path is perilous and your ways seem hidden from Him.  For He KNOWS YOU!