‘You Intended to Harm Me…’

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“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” (Genesis 50:20 NLT).
Impatience is to resist –mentally, emotionally, or even physically, a person or life event that we cannot control.

The Hebrew word for patience is “savlanut.” It derives from the three-letter root samech-lamed-nun (s-l-n). This root is shared by the following words “sevel,” meaning suffering; “lisbol,” meaning to suffer; “sevolet,” meaning tolerance; and “sovel,” meaning burden.

There is a unifying thread that weaves through these Hebraic words that help us understand patience.

As we see in the life of Joseph, he grew into a man of great patience through a myriad of life-changing evil schemes, deceptions, years of suffering, and agonizing delays (Genesis 40 – 41). He suffered hardships and became tolerant as he bore unjust burdens. I imagine that his reaction in the midst of these events was not perfectly ideal, rather normal, like you or me. I am sure he resisted at first.

Somehow the grave disappointments did not distract Joseph from the purposes of God. In truth, he found grace and favor wherever he went because he was able to allow patience to work good in his life during the waiting.

Patient waiting is viable and brings forth its own fruitfulness. Consider Joseph in prison, he found favor by interpreting dreams. I believe he was an exemplary prisoner. He didn’t have a rotten attitude while he waited for justice. He made his life good by reaching out to others, working hard,  and maintaining compliance rather than resistance. His life became viable and fruitful while he suffered and waited in prison. And it opened doors for him to have one of the highest positions in the land. Joseph became so fruitful during his captivity in a foreign land that he became a blessing to both the Egyptian and Hebrew nations. He was able to say, “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” (Genesis 50:20 NLT).

For more study…

I Corinthians 13:4-5, Romans 8:25, Psalm 37:7

Work it into daily life…

If you find yourself impatient during life events that are out of your control, meditate on Joseph’s life. Ask God to show you how while waiting you can become viable and fruitful as Joseph did. Don’t internalize your frustrations, express them to God in prayer and with a confidant. Often a friend’s counsel can be sweet in the midst of developing tolerance and patience. Adapt the key verse above as a life scripture. Memorize and meditate on it daily as you walk through trying situations. Faith will rise in your heart that the best is yet to be.

©Bonnie Saul Wilks


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