Hi friends, there are many ways in which suffering is inexplicable and there are many times when reflecting on the good of suffering is wildly inappropriate. With those caveats in mind, I wanted to share one of the most interesting insights I heard at the Zacharias Institute’s inaugural Business Leaders Conference this past weekend.
Mike Ducker, President and CEO of FedEx Freight, spoke on Friday night about how God uses suffering for our good. (He shared a very personal story at the end that completely validated his credibility to share on suffering).
He points out that in Genesis 40 and 41, we are told:
Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile…
He paused to reflect on this passage. Joseph is in jail on the basis of a false accusation. He is innocent. Furthermore, before that, he arrived at Potiphar’s house because his own brothers sold him into slavery! In Genesis 40, he is walking in such relationship with God that he is able to accurately interpret the dreams of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker of the king of Egypt! (FWIW, I think this narrative poignantly speaks against the injustice of false imprisonment and is a basis for Christians to be involved in criminal reform movements).
Yet, for God’s purposes, Joseph was left in jail for two more years. Mike suggested that this was God’s plan to further teach Joseph an important lesson: your life is entirely in my hands. You are completely dependent upon me. You have no control over your life and must be fully yielded to my will.
This was the needed preparation for Joseph to save an entire region from a severe, multi-year famine. Apart from such dependence on God, Joseph would not have had the humility and servant-hearted attitude needed for this incredibly high-stakes assignment.
What lessons has God taught you through suffering?