“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)
There are usually two ways to see the same situation: negatively or positively. In last week’s article, I quoted St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:28) when he said, ” And we know that, for those who love God , all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.“
This past week, Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas and is reforming to hit Louisiana. The wind and flood damage is, possibly, the most costly in American history. So far, 31 people have lost their lives, including a police officer who drowned when he became trapped in his squad car in flood waters.
No one, in their right mind, can deny, or even try to minimize the level of suffering that is currently affecting well over 11 million people. In fact, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the immensity of the suffering and loss .
In Genesis 50, we read of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery. The enemy capitalized on the jealousy of his brothers to bring about evil. Joseph suffered in slavery and the prisons of Egypt, but eventually became a mighty ruler under Pharaoh. Before a great famine hits the land, God tells Joseph to prepare for it by building storehouses to collect grain. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt seeking food, they did not recognize Joseph. He could have satisfied his anger by having them killed, but he saw how God had used an event meant for evil to bring about great good.
The enemy wants to use the tragedy of Harvey to bring about evil. He want people to feel helpless and forgotten. He wants them to become resentful, angry, and to succumb to the hopelessness of victimhood. Satan wants people to turn from God because He allowed this suffering to occur.
But, there is another way of seeing this. In great suffering, there is also great opportunity. Those of us who are still blessed with much can share with those who have nothing by taking up a love offering. We can pray and send messages of encouragement to people we know in the area. If called, we can gather emergency supplies and deliver them to Texas.
The ultimate questions are, do we see the destructive nature of Hurricane Harvey from the perspective of evil or of opportunity for great good? And, if opportunity, are we prepared to act?
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