“Bad” is often perspective. If you enter a contest and someone else wins, that is bad as far as you are concerned. However, as far as the winner is concerned, it is good. If someone breaks into the house across the street, it is bad for them; but it is good for you that your house was not chosen to be robbed. Our perspective helps determine how we feel about an event.
The way something feels and what is really is are not always the same. If you think the water is scorching hot and you barely touch it; you will recoil and say it was hot. However, the water may have been frigid. Your preconceived notion of the water colored how it felt. Feelings can be dead wrong. How many of you know someone who said they felt fine right before they died? Our perspective and our feelings come into play on deciding if something is “good” or “bad.”
We have something wrong with our body. We go to the doctor and he says surgery is a must. We submit to the knife. After surgery, we are in a lot of pain. We decided that the surgery feels “bad.” However, because we understand the reasoning behind the surgery, we think the surgery was “good.” Can something be good and bad at the same time? Are those two not opposites and therefore not exist at the same time? At this point, our decision must add a third component. That component is results. We decide that since we had something wrong and the surgery corrected it, then the surgery was “good” even though it felt “bad.”
This leads us to the root of my statement. What is the result of all that happens in our life? As Christians, the results are amazing. Take a look in the book of Genesis. There was a man by the name of Joseph. Joseph was favored by his father and as a result his ten older brothers saw him in disfavor. Joseph was sent by his father to check on his brothers and they saw their chance to get rid of the pesky, younger brother.
They first threw him into a dry well. Their intention was to leave him to die. Then they saw a caravan heading to Egypt. They pulled him up and decided it would make more sense to sell him into slavery and make some money off his death. (Being sold into slavery was often a sentence of death). In Egypt, Joseph was sold to the slave market then Potiphar brought him as a personal slave. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph and Joseph was thrown into prison. After some time, two of Pharaoh’s servants were thrown into prison with Joseph. The one that was to be restored promised to tell Pharaoh about Joseph’s plight. He forgot for some time. Pharaoh had a dream and the servant remembered that Joseph could interpret dreams. Joseph was released from prison and made the number two man in the kingdom.
Now at first glance, most of this story sounds like bad things were happening to Joseph. There were negative feelings of rejection. There was physical pain. There was abuse. Pretty much, this is a sad story. However, the story does not end with Joseph in prison. He is elevated to being the most important person in all the kingdom except for the Pharaoh. He is given wealth and power. His end is much better than he would have had if the “bad” stuff had not happened.
To understand Joseph’s perspective we have to flip over to Genesis 50. Here we basically read:
Daddy dies. Joseph’s older brothers start to quake in their boots. They say to each other, “We are dead men walking. Because of what we did to Joseph, he has the right to kill us. Because of who Joseph is, he has the authority to kill us. We are goners.” Joseph catches wind of this and calls the brother in to have a talk. They enter with their knees knocking. “Boys,” Joseph starts off, “You’ve got it all wrong. You meant it for evil, BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD!” Joseph had a godly perspective. He explained that God had used all their evil to bring him to a place of authority so he could save the family line through which the Messiah would come.
The problem is not that “bad” things happen. The problem is we fail to see the hand of our loving Father overseeing everything that happens and making it work for His honor and glory and for our good.
Rom 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
What may seem “bad” to us is really “good” because of the purpose that God has for us. He intends to use everything in the life of a Christian for their good. If God means it for good, how can we puny humans call it bad? He uses even the “bad” things to conform us to the image of His dear Son. That is not bad. That is good.
When we develop a godly perspective, we see all things working together for the purpose of God that we may become more and more like Christ.