A Prayer to Understand God’s Plan for Your Suffering
By Joni Eareckson Tada


“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)

You may not be a quadriplegic like I am, but I bet you resonate with the word helpless. When suffering hits you or your family broadside, we can quickly ask: Where is God? Why is He letting this happen? It’s why I draw inspiration from the biblical story of Joseph.

Although he was never paralyzed, several things happened to him that could be construed as accidents. He was tossed into a pit by his envious brothers and almost left to die, and eventually, he was wrongly put in prison in a foreign land.

Joseph could have become bitter. But many years later, he told 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” (Genesis 50:20).

I like that word, “intended.” God is full of intention — He has a purpose, a target, a goal and a plan. God was a giant step ahead of Joseph’s brothers, aborting their evil intentions to suit His own purposes. Joseph’s problems did not catch God off guard. From the beginning, God planned for Joseph to experience those things. Why? Not only for his own growth in godly character, but for saving others’ lives.

Be comforted by this: God did not take His hands off the wheel of your life for a nanosecond. From start to finish, everything followed God’s plan for you.

This means your trials have much more meaning than you realize. Your problems have more purpose than you can imagine. Not because God merely uses bad things, but because God intends them so others might be introduced to Jesus through your example. What a high calling that is!

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful You are involved in every step of my life. How comforting to know that in good times or bad, You remain in control and have a plan for me. I thank You that You are good no matter what happens, and that I can rest in Your presence. I am thankful for the faithfulness of Joseph that no matter what happened, he turned to You and never doubted You. I pray to have that kind of faith and live a life of surrender to Your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “Your Problems Have Purpose,” written by Joni Eareckson Tada.You can read that piece in full here.

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