Pastor Dominic Cardamone
The boll weevil, originally indigenous to Mexico, arrived in Alabama around 1915. With its arrival came devastation. As the population of boll weevils grew unabated, entire crops of cotton were being lost in that region to the appetites of these little bugs. As you can imagine, this caused the whole area to fall into an economic slump and had an adverse effect on farmers and their families. Life was being turned upside down for many. Sound familiar? Life for those of us living through the Coronavirus pandemic can certainly relate.
The boll weevil albeit a nuisance to the farmers of Alabama and of other regions of southern USA interestingly became a catalyst to innovation and prosperity. H.M. Session, a businessman, saw this problem as an opportunity and worked with farmers to convert to peanut farming instead. As a result, farmers learned to diversify their crops and it brought new revenue to their struggling economy as they no longer relied solely on cotton. The negative that came into their lives was turned to a greater good.
Remember Joseph? He was hated by his brothers as the favored son of their father, Jacob. At the age of 17, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:2, 28). Joseph then spent a total of 13 years in Potiphar’s house and in prison. You can read more about that time of Joseph’s life in Genesis 39-40. I think it would be a safe assessment to say his life during that time was not what he planned for or even wanted it to be. Sound familiar? Those out of work, experiencing sickness, quarantined at home and trying to figure out homeschooling, etc. due to Coronavirus can probably relate.
The Bible doesn’t speak much to the mental and emotional struggle that Joseph may have gone through as he spent his time in Potiphar’s home and in prison thinking of how his brothers betrayed him, but it does make a number of things very apparent. Joseph chose to behave himself in an upright manner, God was with him, and God made him to prosper. Genesis 39:2 and Genesis 39:21 say, “the Lord was with Joseph.” Even Pharaoh recognized this when he promoted Joseph to governor of Egypt after interpreting his dreams and said in Genesis 41:38, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” Joseph himself also came to realize what God had been doing through all the negative that took place in his life. When he finally was reunited with his brothers 22 years after they threw him in the pit and sold him into slavery, Genesis 45:5-8 records him say the following:
“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
What’s the point? God took the negative in Joseph’s life and turned it to a greater good. God promoted Joseph from prisoner to prime minister. The Lord brought Joseph to Egypt to enact a plan that saved his whole family and many others from starvation during a grievous 7-year famine. God was preserving and preparing his chosen people from whom the Messiah would one day come to save the world! This is the greatest good of all and for all!
Many around us are facing hard times. Whatever your negative circumstance is, I encourage you to take heart in knowing that we serve a God who is bigger than anything we may be facing. Through grace and power, God can take the negativity you are facing and turn it to a greater good! Romans 8:28 reminds us, “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.” I believe we are already seeing some of the good God is producing through this time. People are being saved through a relationship with Jesus Christ, families are growing closer together, and new opportunities are presenting themselves each day.
Let’s thank and praise Him for it!