I’ve often quoted Genesis 50:20 when I talk about being healed from the past. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.” The gist? Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, is now a high leader in Egypt, responsible for saving the lives of many in famine. He is speaking to his brothers. He simply speaks the truth here: Yes, you meant to hurt me, but in the long run, God can even use your evil actions and intentions to save many.
Yes, those boys who raped me repeatedly my kindergarten year meant to harm me. They meant evil against me. But after much, much healing, God uses that devastation to help me help others who go through similar devastation.
Recently, though, I was reading through Joseph’s story again and I came across this verse:
“So it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8).
This is not an easy scripture for me to digest. Did God send me into the clutches of those predators? I truly believe God’s heart breaks when His children are defiled, so this kind of logic won’t work. However, if I look at it from a different perspective, I am strangely comforted.
It’s not that God sends evil. Evil exists. It lives and moves and has its being on this earth. What Joseph is saying here is that people who do evil things are not God. They cannot orchestrate time and eternity. They may think they are destroying us, but the final outcome rests in God’s hands. People don’t have the ultimate power to change a life.
In other words, a perpetrator cannot thwart God’s good plan for us. Although I still don’t understand the why of my abuse and why I wasn’t rescued earlier, I do understand that God has a larger plan in all this pain. I am now able to love those who have similar stories and empathize in ways I wouldn’t have been able to had I not walked through the abuse. I have the privilege of telling someone, “You are not alone, and you are not crazy.”
Those brothers may have meant evil. They may have intended and plotted it. But they cannot keep me silent forever. They cannot hold sway over my heart today. They cannot ruin my relationships. They cannot keep me fearful.
I don’t pretend to understand the sovereignty of God. I cannot know the ultimate plan, and why bad things happen to children. But I can tell my own story: God has used that awful sexual abuse story in the lives of others, and for that I am grateful. He has taken my hand on this journey and led me to stages of one and stages of many to help others be set gloriously free.
Which goes to show: God’s not after perfect people with perfect stories and perfect lives. He is after the broken ones, the ones who actually NEED Him. There’s hope for all of us in that truth.