As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.

How many times have you heard the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? We use it to encourage people to acknowledge the bad things in life and see how you can use them for good. Sometimes, though, this phrase can sound more like a tired cliché than an encouraging word. In the middle of a difficult situation, it can feel forced and downright unhelpful. When things are difficult, they are real and overwhelming. It’s not so easy to simply put a positive spin on your perspective.

God is gracious to us as His wisdom is so far beyond ours. He knows our needs alongside knowing the past, present, and future; we only know what we think we need for a particular moment. His context is comprehensive; ours is limited. His knowledge is insurmountable; ours only scratches the surface. When we try to think about the positive in a difficult situation using our own strength, we come up short with shallow answers and discouraged attitudes. But when we trust God is at work, seeing all the evil He has used for good and all the brokenness He has restored, we can be encouraged: He will certainly do this work again.

These words spoken by Joseph after being betrayed, imprisoned, and then restored to leadership in Egypt were also true for Jesus. Through Jesus’s betrayal, crucifixion, and death God did the most amazing restorative work: reconciliation between man and God. Take heart. The same God who has used the most excruciating evil for good is not through with His restorative work. He is using you, your hardships and your celebrations to bring more people to know this hope. There is purpose in the struggle; there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Jesus provides us so much more hope than just making lemonade out of lemons.

  • Have you tried to have a positive perspective in a difficult situation on your own power? What was that like? How does Jesus provide lasting hope?
  • When you consider all the evil God used in the lives of Joseph and Jesus, how are you encouraged that God is using your circumstances?
  • Pray and thank God for the lasting hope He gives us through Jesus. Ask Him to do a restorative work in your life as well.