Joseph’s story teaches me in no uncertain terms that God is in control and even uses the “bad stuff” in our lives. Slavery and imprisonment was a strange path to near kingship, yet that was the way God chose. Joseph himself explained this to his brothers, saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). God’s will has a place somewhere in every trial, disappointment, loss or defeat.
Our Enemy may whisper that God is not with us, that there is no help for us and all is lost. Our best answer comes from Psalm 46:1,“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble!” The remedy for most doubts and worries, in fact, is a deliberate turning of our backs on them by the grace of God. I love this story of how a young girl answered the devil’s taunts.
One night as I tucked my daughter into bed, she said, “Well, Mother, I have had my first doubt.”
“What was it?” I asked in great surprise.
“Oh, Satan told me that God did not love me because I was such a naughty little girl. He said I was a foolish child to believe God loved me, even if my mother did say He did.”
“What did thee say?” I asked.
“Oh,” she replied, “I just said, ‘Satan, I am going to believe it, and I will believe it; so there!’ And then he did not bother me anymore.”
Of course I was delighted at the child’s sensible way of dealing with her doubts and encouraged her all I could always to treat them after this fashion; and did not suppose I should hear of them again. But the next night after she was in bed and I went for my good-night kiss, she greeted me with the words, “Well, Mother, Satan has been at it again.”
“What did he say this time?” I asked.
“Why, he said, that the Bible was not true and that only foolish people believed it.”
“And what did thee answer him?” I asked.
“Oh,” she replied, “I just said, ‘Satan, shut thy mouth!’ and he ran away as fast as he could.”[i]
May God grant us the wisdom and faith to treat Satan’s suggestions in a similar manner, relying on the promise of James 4:7. If we resist the devil, he will have to flee.
[i]Smith, Every Day Religion, 226. Punctuation updated.