All Things Work Together for Good
The major taste receptors are sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Some foods are more appealing to us than others, like sweet and savoury dishes tastes delicious. However, if you eat too much of sweets, it will weaken your immunity and you will get sick, not to mention the long term results such as obesity and diabetes. On the other hand, bitter foods are not very appetizing, however, it is good for you. When I go on a detox, I intentionally consume bitter foods as they are packed with nutrients, reduce sugar craving and cleans the body. Consuming too much bitter foods can result in unpleasant side-effects too. Eating food in moderation and balancing the tastes is the key to good health.
In life we go through good times and not so good times, but together they work for our good. 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 NIV). We know the reality of life that all things together don’t work well for everyone. It only works well for THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, AND HAVE BEEN CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.
When we love God, we focus on pleasing God and fulfilling His purpose in our lives and therefore God works all things for our good, even the most unpleasant things. In the book of Genesis, we read the story of Joseph, who was pleasing to God and chosen for greatness, yet hated by his brothers, because they couldn’t bear to see the favour their father showed to Joseph. They were jealous of his colourful outfit and his dreams. They plotted to kill him, but then settled down to sell him as a slave to the merchants passing by in caravans. The merchants in turn sell Joseph to Potiphar, ‘the captain of the guard’ who was ‘an officer of Pharaoh’ in Egypt.
Potiphar recognized Joseph’s general competence. He promoted him to be his personal steward and puts him in charge of all that he had. After a while, Potiphar’s wife took a sexual interest in Joseph. She thought she had the right and power over him. He refuses her advancement and flees from her, and out of anger she accuses Joseph of assaulting her. Joseph was sentenced to imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.
You may be in prison like Joseph, suffering for a crime that you did not commit. People have stood in the courts, taken an oath in the name of the Almighty God and falsely testified against you. Joseph’s godliness did not rescue him from false accusation and imprisonment. If we find ourselves in a parallel situation, our godliness is no guarantee that we will escape unscathed. But Joseph did leave an instructive testimony to Potiphar’s wife and possibly others in the household. Knowing that we belong to the Lord and that he defends the weak will certainly help us to face difficult situations without giving up. This story is a realistic recognition that standing up to sexual harassment in the workplace may have devastating consequences. Yet it is also a story of hope that by God’s grace, good may eventually prevail in the situation. Joseph also provides a model for us, that even when we are falsely accused and wrongly treated, we carry on with the work God has given us, allowing God to make it right in the end(1).
The story of Joseph ends with triumph. God’s favour was with Joseph even while he was in prison. God gave him the ability to interpret the king’s dreams and save Egypt from the upcoming famine. Joseph found favour with the king and was promoted to second-in-command of Egypt. During the famine, Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt to buy food. Joseph forgave his brothers and was reconciled with his family. He let his brother know that, 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 ESV).
We find favour with God when we overcome evil with good. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As Christians, we suffer for doing right, we suffer for speaking the truth and we suffer for professing our faith. However, it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:17 NIV). Jesus Christ suffered on the cross. Although without sin, he was treated like a criminal and an outcast, spat upon, despised by all and humiliated. Yet, He humbled himself and suffered, even death on a cross. He knew the suffering that was before him, but willingly took upon the cross. Likewise, we too willingly should undergo suffering for doing what is right, even at the point of persecution. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also (John 15: 19-20 NIV).
We do what we do, not based on the consequences we would suffer, but based on what is right and pleasing to God. Therefore, continue in the path of righteousness so that in the end, all things together will work for good and the glory of God.