Have you ever been journeying through life with everything smooth-sailing, all going well, your dreams all coming true, and then BAM!, everything hit the fan? Suddenly nothing was going right, your dreams were being dashed, people were leaving you and you were left reeling?
In times like those it can be so easy to believe God has suddenly ceased to be good, your faith was all a sham, and He has abandoned you in this big, dark world. But those feelings are not representative of truth.
Even when it definitely does not look like it, God’s plans are always, always better than our own. Here are four accounts from the Bible to help us remember just that:
I absolutely love the story of Joseph found in Genesis 38-50. Anytime someone asks me how it’s possible to still believe in the goodness of God even when life seems anything but good, Joseph’s story is always the first one I encourage them to read. It’s a faith-builder for sure!
Joseph went through a years-long journey through the “school of hard knocks”, as it were. The favorite son of his father, he bore the brunt of his brothers’ hatred. They threw him into a pit and abandoned him, only to then decide to sell him into slavery in Egypt instead. Once in Egypt, things went from bad to worse as he was falsely accused and tossed into prison. Nothing about his life seemed to be going well and nothing about God’s plan seemed to be good or worthy of trust. But it was!
At the end of his story, Joseph was able to look back and see that his being thrown into prison (and the experiences he went through while there!) were precisely what led to his becoming second-in-command to Pharaoh (and the very one God used to save His people from a years-long famine in the land!). It becomes abundantly clear that God had gone before him, paving the way for him to end up just where he needed to be, right when he needed to be there, in order for him to provide for the needs of his people! Nothing gets past God!
Many of us are familiar with the story of Job. Here was a man who was righteous before God and yet lost his children, servants, flocks, herds, possessions, and even his own health. Nothing about those experiences pointed to God’s will and plan being good or trustworthy. And yet, through it all, Job was able to see how good, just, and trustworthy God truly is! Read the book of Job for some much-needed encouragement if you ever begin to doubt the goodness of God’s plans.
- The Old Testament Israelites
Oh, the Israelites! Those people of God who, after being delivered by God out of slavery in Egypt and rescued from the clutch of Pharaoh, end up grumbling in the wilderness over a supposed lack of food and water. They had a lot to learn about the trustworthy nature of God’s plan! But learn they did (again and again after they forgot again and again!). Read the books of Exodus through Joshua for some incredibly encouraging, amazing accounts of God’s goodness and trustworthy nature as it pertains to His care for His children in the midst of the wilderness and beyond!
- The New Testament Israelites
The New Testament Israelites found themselves disappointed, as well. They believed their Messiah would take the form of one who would come rushing in to rescue them from the clutches of Rome, just as God had rescued their ancestors from the clutches of Pharaoh. But He didn’t. Instead, their Messiah came as a gentle and lowly humble servant of a Man. He came not to serve, but to serve. He came not to fight, but to turn the other cheek and lay down His life for us all. Though that was nowhere near the plan of the New Testament Israelites and God’s plan differed from theirs quite a bit, the differences were for the better.
These are but four examples of instances in which God’s plan was far better than the people’s plans, but the Bible is replete with even more. I encourage you to look some up on your own and watch your faith be built up in the process!