He was ‘the good son’. His many brothers were basically a train wreck in comparison. Joseph was not just ‘good’ but was his father’s favorite…gaining him a beautiful coat and much praise. How could bad things happen to him after such a primrose start to life. The downhill slide happened one day when his dad asked him to go check up on his brothers...
Genesis 37:14 "Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along," Jacob said. "Then come back and bring me a report.”
The brothers apparently didn’t want checked up on so they hatched a plot to get rid of little Mr. good son.
Genesis 37:18 When Joseph's brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19 "Here comes the dreamer!" they said. 20 "Come on, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns.
Rather than kill him they threw him in the water-pot and then sold him into slavery. Why would this bad thing happen to this good young man? It didn’t get better anytime soon. For each instance in his life, Joseph faced trial after trial…prison included. Why?
If you know his story then you know that Joseph ended up in Egypt and was elevated to the top of the kingdom of the Pharaoh. From this position he saved both Egypt and Israel (his family) from certain famine and death. Yet, why? Could it be that God can will our life to be a service to others even if that service causes us pain, separation and even death? Yup, I’m afraid so.
Joseph probably felt about like you and I do about that perspective from time to time. Not fair! Yet, by the time his life was lived he had realized that it was about much more than him. Better said, he knew that life was ‘Not all about me’. Here his wisdom in Genesis 50:20 when addressing his brothers:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Yes, God can even use evil and suffering to bring about good. Are we willing to accept that even when that evil and suffering visits our zip code? Not easy…but one more biblical reason to explain ‘why bad things happen to good people’.