Bob Tamasy: But God Intended It For Good

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

In less than two months, regardless of the quality of our eyesight, we’ll all be seeing 2020 – on our calendars. In one respect, I can’t wait to see what the new year holds. However, if the crazy current year is any indication, maybe waiting wouldn’t be a bad idea. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about a different kind of 20:20. Not the kind revealed by an eye chart, but the perfect vision afforded to us through the benefits of hindsight.

 

Have you ever experienced a time of extreme disappointment, when at that moment it seemed as if all of your hopes and dreams were crashing down? Then, days or weeks or months, or even years later, you realized that setback wasn’t so bad after all? 

 

One man who attested to that was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who courageously exposed many of the evils of Communism under Joseph Stalin.

For his efforts, he was sentenced to years of imprisonment in a Soviet gulag in the 1950s. Deprivation he experienced in the “corrective labor camp” provided unique insights into human suffering and the meaning of life. Most important, it became an integral part of his spiritual journey, leading him to conclude, “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!”

 

Bless prison? How could anyone regard cruel confinement as a “blessing”? And yet, that was how Solzhenitsyn came to regard it as he wrote a series of books called The Gulag Archipelago. I know of other individuals who could look back on their time in prison as a spiritual turning point. Among them was the late Charles Colson, a former chief aide to President Richard Nixon, whose own prison experience led him to start the Prison Fellowship ministry that continues to touch many thousands of inmates nationwide.

 

For individuals like this, flawless hindsight revealed them God could use a devastating experience as part of His process for shaping them into the people He intended for them to become.


Thankfully, I’ve not experienced anything remotely close to that. But numerous times, circumstances caused me to wonder, “Where did I go wrong?” or, “What in the world’s going on?” Only later did I learn how God had allowed the distressing circumstances to take place so that He could guide me to something much better than I could have imagined.

 

The Scriptures provide numerous examples of individuals whose lives seemed to reach a dead end, only to realize God was preparing them for future use. One who comes to mind is Joseph, the young man whose own brothers sold him into slavery out of resentment for his father’s favoritism. Taking that lemon and turning it into lemonade, Joseph became a valued servant in the household of Potiphar, a prominent Egyptian official. 

 

But that was hardly the end of his story. Joseph’s faithful service was unjustly “rewarded” by Potiphar’s wife when he spurned her lustful advances. “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Joseph protested (Genesis 39:9). Rather than admiring his virtue, the scorned wife falsely accused him of sexual assault and Potiphar had him imprisoned. 

 

“What did I do?!” might have been Joseph’s lament. Sitting in prison, he had ample opportunity to wonder about being wronged for doing right. Ultimately, it became evident God wasn’t at all surprised by the turn of events. The Lord used them to place Joseph into a strategic role as the chief assistant to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. This set the stage for fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham when He said, “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). 

 

Many years later Joseph’s brothers unknowingly came to him looking for help in the face of a growing famine. Rather than seeking vengeance for their betrayal, he embraced them and was able to declare, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

 

A familiar New Testament verse relates to this. It’s Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Unfortunately, it’s sometimes dispensed as a simplistic platitude to comfort people going through times of serious struggle. Nevertheless, as Joseph learned in Egypt – and as many of us have discovered through our own adversities – it’s true.

 

Do some of your hopes and dreams seem shipwrecked? Have dark times descended that defy explanation? When we encounter such moments in life, we can take heart in knowing the Lord is indeed in control. As He said through the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

For all of us who love God and are called according to His purpose, we can trust that even our hard experiences are intended for good. Sometimes it just requires 20:20 hindsight to see how.


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.

Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Hosts Christmas Devotional Saturday

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Bob Tamasy: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thanksgiving


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chattanooga invites everyone to a Christmas Musical Devotional on Saturday at 6 p.m. at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road. The devotional will celebrate ... (click for more)

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The ... (click for more)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to write a series of perspectives on Thanksgiving Day. As it happened, the one I posted the Monday before the holiday was titled, perhaps a bit prophetically, ... (click for more)


Church

Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Hosts Christmas Devotional Saturday

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chattanooga invites everyone to a Christmas Musical Devotional on Saturday at 6 p.m. at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road. The devotional will celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ through music. Chattanooga Stake President John Griffey will preside, with opening remarks by 1st counselor Brian Silvenis. The Chattanooga Stake ... (click for more)

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Celebration will include a special musical presentation by the church choir, and a message, "How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" by Pastor Mitch McClure. This Celebration is a result ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Suspect In Bayberry Apartments Murder Taken Into Custody In Dramatic Fashion In Courtroom; Police Give Details Of Shooting

A man who was called a suspect in murders on Sunday night at the Bayberry Apartments was taken into custody in dramatic fashion in a courtroom at the Courts Building on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, Chattanooga Police said Mark Caslin, 26, has been charged in the slayings. Police said, "During the preliminary investigation, Chattanooga Police Department officers ... (click for more)

Attorney For Janet Hinds To Seek Change Of Venue; Trial May Be In Late Summer

An attorney for the Chattanooga woman who allegedly ran over and killed law enforcement officer Nicholas Galinger said he will ask a change of venue for her. Janet Hinds, 55, will be back in court in a couple of months. She is to have her trial date decided on Feb. 3. A trial date sometime in late summer was hinted at by defense attorney Ben McGowan. Other pre-trial hearings ... (click for more)

Opinion

Don't Stem The Tide Of Refugees In Tennessee

The Trump Administration has released a new executive order that could change the way that the refugee resettlement program is run in the United States. The first - and most shocking - change that is being implemented is the huge drop in refugees being allowed in the country. For the past decade, on average, around 80,000 to 90,000 refugees have been admitted per year. According ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So Long ‘Til Next Time

There is a famous class that I’ve heard about years at Sewanee, one that is eagerly anticipated in the theology halls of the Episcopal seminary, where those hopeful of becoming priests must come to grips with one of life’s most daunting realities. Through the years I’ve talked to several of my friends who deeply appreciated the lessons because men and women of faith are each forced ... (click for more)