Summary: Post September 11th attack

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Genesis 50:15-21

"But Joseph said to them, don’t be afraid, Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."


1. What is suffering? Suffering covers a broad spectrum of

experiences and has a multitude of faces.

- Definition: "Suffering is to endure loss, to feel pain

and distress, to sustain injury. It may involve physical,

emotional or spiritual distress. It is cyclical and all


2. What about the problem of personal suffering? Each of us has

to answer the question, "Why does God allow me to suffer?"

This question is one that I had to answer in a very gut-level

way. I hope the answer I found will help you.

3. This last Tuesday, America was stunned to wake up to our television and radio

stations telling us of the horrific news that two American airliners had crashed into

the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. We watched with shock and horror as the television footage of the crashes was replayed over and over

again. Just when we thought that the worst was over, both buildings imploded and

crumbled to the ground. News commentators informed us that as many as 50,000

people may have been present in those buildings and that it is estimated that as

many as 30,000 people were killed in the blast.

4. Many of us have sat glued to our televisions sets staring in disbelief. We have felt

shocked, then numbed and finally angry and vindictive – demanding justice and

retaliation. This morning our nation cries out “To God, Why?” “Why have you

allowed this terrible tragedy to occur.”


Christian, I do not pretend to understand why God has allowed us to experience

such a great and devastating loss, but I have learned this about suffering from the

life of Joseph: God intends it for good. Notice, I did not say that suffering is

good, or that God initiates suffering ( I suspect that evil people filled with hate are

behind much of our suffering), but I do believe that God redeems good out of the

suffering we experience.

INTERROGATIVE: How does God redeem good out of our suffering?


If we examine each aspect in the phrase Joseph used, "God

intended it for good", we will discover three ways God

redeemed value from Joseph’s suffering:

1) "GOD" -Suffering is Centered in God.

2) "INTENDED IT" - Suffering Has Purpose.

3) "FOR GOOD" -Suffering Results in Our Good.


A. Where was God in Joseph’s Suffering.

1. We pick up Joseph’s story in Gen. 37.

Cannot help but immediately notice that God’s hand

is resting on Joseph’s life. He experienced two

dreams which God used to speak to him about the

future of his life although his family failed to

recognize it. His older brothers simply grew more

and more jealous of the dreamer and finally sold him

into slavery in Egypt.

a. Instead of experiencing the dream God had given

him, Joseph’s life suddenly became a nightmare.

b. Don’t you suppose that Joseph asked the same

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