The Redemptive Principle

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.                                                                                                                                Genesis 50:20-21

I call it The Redemptive Principle. The passage in Genesis 50:20 embodies the principle of redeeming something bad into something good. I use this often with couples to explain that, for example, a seemingly devastating problem in the relationship can actually become the start of a healing that never could have happened unless the traumatic problem had occurred. The relationship can be better than it ever could have been had the problems not occurred. We see this time and again, not just in relationships, but in tragic life events. Life altering suffering can work toward long-term good.

In the story of Joseph, had his brothers not treated him so badly- selling him into slavery after planning to murder him- he would not have been in the position of later saving them, and much of the Middle East area from starvation. Joseph himself had the presence of mind, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, to see the events in a larger panoramic. He saw that the evil actions of his brothers had been used by God for the salvation of many, including his nefarious brothers.

At the time of our trauma or tragedy we, of course, are unable to see the long-range arc of God’s redemption of those events. Much later, we can often look back and see God’s hand clearly in the process. Faith dictates that we anticipate that God has his hand on the process for his glory, and our good. This is hard to do. I tell my clients that I do not expect them to see this now. It would be unfair to burden them with this at the time of their pain and suffering. But I ask them to trust that there CAN be a greater outcome than ever could have been if the trauma had never happened. The relationship can be stronger than it ever could have been had the problems never occurred.

Naïve? Pie in the sky? No. I have seen this so many times that I am convinced of the truth of this principle. Yes, it takes time and perspective to see this principle come to fruition. Is it possible?

Yes!  If we allow such thinking, and we work in anticipation of that possibility.

Prayer: Your hand is at work in ways that we cannot understand, but we trust your provision for our ultimate good, Amen.

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