Friday, February 8, 2013
God Meant It For Good
I love the story of Joseph's forgiveness of his brothers. Joseph learned a lot in the crucible of tough times that took him from being an arrogant young dreamer to a mature man who could see life from God's perspective. In Genesis 50:20 he tells his brothers, "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good..."
Joseph's family had a legacy of deceit but there was also a legacy of forgiveness that was displayed by his Uncle Esau. Joseph's father, Jacob, had deceived his brother Esau and when they met again after years of separation Jacob was afraid Esau would seek revenge. But in Genesis 33:4 the Bible records, "Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept." That surely made an impression on young Joseph.
This week I had a rare opportunity to tell someone "God meant it for good."
Let me set the stage a bit.
Back in 1994 my husband was suspended from his teaching job in the face of false accusations of improper conduct brought by several students who were failing his class. These students were not credible and thus were never brought to testify in the arbitration hearing. One good student, though, (who I will call Sarah) did testify against my husband, and we were always confused about that because he had a good teacher-student relationship with Sarah.
Many other students testified on my husband's behalf and after a year-long legal battle we won the case on all points.
It's hard to understand why this happened, but over the years we've been able to see some of the good that came from that struggle.
Fast forward to this week when I had to go for a video interview at a small local production company. I knew in advance that this interview would be conducted by Sarah and I had some weeks to think and pray about this. I had no idea if Sarah would remember me or if God would give me a chance to talk to her about our past history.
We began the interview and I talked briefly about how God has grown the Operation Christmas Child project locally despite my weaknesses. Then the camera stopped and the videographer said, "My memory card is full. I have to change it." And he left the room.
Sarah and I were left alone. I thought about my Operation Christmas Child prayer team who were covering this time in prayer and knew I had a God-given opportunity, so I said quickly, "You know, there's something that happened in my past that has a part in allowing me to invest more in this Operation Christmas Child project, and you're a part of it."
She looked at me questioningly and said, "I'm a part of it?"
"Yes. Back in 1994 my husband was suspended from his teaching job." I watched Sarah's face pale a little but I kept speaking. "That was the first year I'd gone back to working full-time and we were looking at more expensive homes. But the suspension and the legal bills we had caused us to stay in our present home. Because of that I now have more money available to pack these shoeboxes."
"So you think that suspension was a good thing?" she said.
"No, it wasn't good. But God made good things come out of it."
"Because," she said, "it was one of the worse things in my life. There were some bad girls that got it started and they got me to go along with them. I felt awful about it. When I saw your name on the list, I wondered if you were related to Mr. Schriefer and I thought it might be really awkward...."
"No, it's all good," I said with a smile. "God had good plans for us."
"So is your husband okay? Is he doing well?"
"Great," I answered, just as the videographer came back into the room.
And that was the end of the conversation. There was no hugging or weeping but, at least in my mind, there was forgiveness...
And God meant it for good.
Posted by Kathy Schriefer at 6:44 PM