Seeking the Greater Good

How often do we misjudge suffering?

How often do we beg God to deliver us from trouble without even stopping to consider that the greater good may be found smack in the middle of that trouble?

For example…

It would have been good if Potiphar’s wife hadn’t falsely accused Joseph, but the greater good was served by Joseph’s faithful service to God in prison.  (Genesis 39:19-23)

It would have been good if baby Moses’s mother had been able to keep him in a normal home environment, but the greater good was served by him growing up in Pharoah’s household.  (Exodus 2)

It would have been good if Canaan hadn’t been populated by warlike pagan tribes, but the greater good was served by the Israelites having to trust God to help them conquer the land.  (Joshua 1:6-9)

It would have been good if Jesus had exposed Judas’s treachery and banished him from his inner circle, but the greater good was served by him washing his betrayer’s feet.  (John 13:1-5)

It would have been good if the infant church had been embraced and supported by the religious authorities, but the greater good was served by persecution. (Acts 8:1-4)

It would have been good if Paul and Barnabas could have agreed on everything, but the greater good was served by them having their own strong opinions. (Acts 15:36-41)

It would have been good if Paul could have stayed out of prison and moved about freely, but the greater good was served by his years of confinement and extensive letter writing. (Philippians 1:12-14)

It would have been good if Paul could have gotten rid of his thorn in the flesh, but the greater good was served by him keeping it. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

It would have been good if Jesus hadn’t been treated like a criminal, but the greater good was served by him being nailed to a cross. (Titus 2:14)

Are you in a bad place right now?  Can you see trouble on the horizon?  If so, don’t panic.  And don’t be too quick to ask God to deliver you.  Try this prayer instead: “Father, lead me down the path of the greater good, wherever it may lead.”

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9 Responses to Seeking the Greater Good

  1. It is often a bitter pill to swallow…but the long term wellness that can occur is worth it~!

  2. Usha Rees says:

    A good devotional thought to share with my staff at the leprosy hospital in India. Well thought through and written. Thank you!

  3. Marg Morris Mitchell says:

    Mark you are so right. He is now leading me down a path I am unsure of and hesitant to take, yet, I know He will be with me each step of the way. I am ready for wherever he does lead me. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Kathy Wennlund says:

    Thank you so much for this important reminder!

  5. Janet McCauley says:

    You are so right! When diagnosed with cancer, my husband was told he had 1-2 yrs if he had chemo. Less if he did not. After a few months of chemo treatment he was asked in a men’s Bible Study if he looked at the cancer in the words of Job. “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” He responded that the cancer was the best thing that ever happened to him. Through the suffering he learned what it truly means to belong to the Kingdom of God. He went from believing in God to Knowing Him. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he was filled with joy! At his memorial service we had the song Blessings, by Laura Story, sung.

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