Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Set Back for a Purpose - Genesis 50:20 Share Flipboard Email Print Sue Chastain/Pixabay Christianity Inspirational Bible Devotions Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Mary Fairchild Christianity Expert General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry." our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Mary Fairchild Updated February 21, 2019 "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) Today's Inspiring Thought: Set Back for a Purpose The billboard read, "God often uses a setback to move us forward." As we consider these words, we think about how often we've seen this truth in our own lives. On many occasions, what may seem like a terrible setback at the time, turns out to be a "send forward" from God. Jacob’s youngest son, Joseph, must have felt set back when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph was Jacob's favorite son. As a young man, God gave him staggering revelations through dreams. In one he saw himself exalted above his 11 brothers and his parents. Joseph bragged to his brothers about his dreams so much so that in time they decided Joseph needed to go. The brothers cooked up a plan to sell Joseph into slavery, and eventually, he ended up in prison. Thirteen years passed until the day Joseph had the opportunity to interpret one of Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph that he made him his right-hand man in charge over all of Egypt. In his worst moments, when his life seemed pointed in the opposite direction of God's plan, Joseph learned to trust in the Lord. In God's time, he was thrust forward for a divine purpose. Not only did Joseph save his family and the people of Israel, but he also rescued the whole of Egypt from starvation. Later, as an old man, Joseph was able to say with unshakable certainty these incredible words of forgiveness to his brothers: "Don't be afraid. What you meant for harm, God meant for good.” The Lord had transformed his brothers' evil intentions into something beneficial. Exacting personal vengeance was out of the question. Joseph had come to understand that God's good purpose had been accomplished through the very deed that was meant to bring his demise. Surrender to God's Purpose If you're feeling discouraged over an apparent detour, remember Joseph. God may be orchestrating something unexpectedly good, despite the reversal of your plans. Right now might be a good time to review these promises in Scripture: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, ESV)And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, ESV) In the Christian life, it often takes a few setbacks and detours before we begin to catch on and learn to trust God for a positive outcome. Let Joseph's story inspire you as an example of what God can do when you surrender your will to his in times of frustration and disappointment. This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25, NIV) It may feel scary at first. It's not easy to give up control, but surrendering your will to God's will is the very thing you need to do to give the Holy Spirit freedom to work through you with his power. Jesus knew something about surrender. He lived in total obedience to his Father. This is how he was able to give his life for us on the cross. Jesus calls us to follow him, to take up our cross, and surrender wholly in obedience to God. When all hell breaks loose and you don't understand God's plan, that is the perfect time to let go and trust God. Believe that he will bring you to an unexpected (but good) twist for his purpose.