God’s Intentions

by Joni Eareckson Tada, from the Beyond Suffering Bible

When life takes one negative turn after another, we feel helpless. When loved ones suffer, we are often tempted to ask: Where is God? Why is he letting this happen? In these times, I draw a lot of inspiration from the story of Joseph. Although he was never paralyzed, a lot of things happened to him that could be construed as accidents. He was tossed into a pit by his envious brothers and almost left to die; later he was put in prison in a foreign land—Joseph could have become bitter. But years later, he told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He [God] brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (50:20, emphasis added).

I like that word intended. God is full of intention—he has a purpose, a target, a goal, and a plan. God was a giant step ahead of Joseph’s brothers, aborting their evil intentions to suit his own purposes. Joseph’s problems did not catch God off guard. From the beginning, God planned for Joseph to experience those things. Why? Not only for his own growth in godly character, but for the salvation of others.

God is not a sweep-up boy who follows you with a dustpan and brush, second-guessing how everything will fit into a divine pattern for good. He does not put on a hazmat suit so that an evil situation doesn’t contaminate his holy reputation.

Think of the disappointing or bad things that have happened to you. God’s hands stay on the wheel of your life from start to finish so that everything follows his plan. This means your trials have more meaning—much more than you realize. Your problems have more purpose than you can imagine. Not because God merely uses bad things, but because God intends them so that others might be introduced to Jesus through your example.

Joni is one of the world’s leading international advocates for people affected by disability. A diving accident in 1967 left her, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. After two years of rehabilitation, she emerged with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations. She founded Joni and Friends in 1979, which quickly grew to provide Christ-centered programs to special needs families, churches, and communities. Joni survived stage III breast cancer in 2010, and still keeps a very active ministry schedule. Learn more about her ministry at Joni & Friends.

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35 thoughts on “God’s Intentions

    1. So sorry for your pain. God does care and does answer prayer, but often it’s not the way we expect for imagine. I would suggest reading the story of Joseph. I am sure he felt like you many times, but always turned back to God and kept his faith in him.

  1. Requesting prayer, I too live with chronic pain and 95% of things I use to be able to do I can no longer do on a regular basis. Besides the Percocets I take every 6 hours I have found myself turning to other means of relief.
    It has affected everything in my life including my relationship with my wife.
    I too have been asking the question lately “where are you in this Lord?”
    So please put my wife and I on your prayer list, I’m Robert her name is Julie

  2. I would absolutely love to have this Bible. I have been saved since I was 13yo. At age 11 I had the first of 9 back surgeries, at 12 my left foot was caught in a lawn mower. I’ve had two miscarriages, been diagnosed with Lupus and am now going through a very painful divorce. I am permanently disabled and don’t have much of an income. I really cannot afford your work. If there is anything at all you have for free I would love to get my hands on it. Thank you so much!!

    1. Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, we are unable to give away this Bible. Praying you feel God’s peace today.

  3. I to go through much suffering, and at times ask God why? Where are you. I am on disability. I have been hospitalized 8 times this year alone. Hundreds and hundreds of times in my life. I have Crohn’s disease, early stages of colon cancer, two hip replacements, merca where they almost did surgery to remove my left arm, and much chronic pain. Never married, no children, parents no longer here. I ask God why he even put me here at times. But, I have not given up. I know God has a purpose for me and for everything I’ve been through. He is all I have now. He is all I need. I know my positive outlook, and showing everyone my love for God through all this suffering has and will continue to inspire people. Maybe that’s the whole purpose?

    1. Thank you for sharing the love God has for us. We need to hear the truth and love God has for us! More then we hear of the evil that grips our lives in this world! I lost my son to suicide three years ago, in the last three years I have lost 25 young people! My son was 18 years old when he hung himself in our basement. The anger he had for his half sister and his father was heart wrenching, he wrote how he wished them both dead! He wished I too would leave him alone and stop trying to live my life through him! I only wanted a good life for him! He often question the
      existence of God, before he made his mind up! He did except Jesus into his heart at age five! And up to age thirteen he was the best kid ever! Then after that he started skipping school, smoking weed, then taking drugs and alcohol! My question is will I see my son saved?

      1. Donna I am so very sorry for all the pain. I know God wants to bring comfort and peace, but at times he can seem far away. Just yesterday there was a wonderful pastor and mental health advocate who took his own life. Depression affects so many people and even those who have such a hope in Christ can find themselves drowning in not understanding or just wanting the pain to go away. I am not a theologian or pastor, but if you have a pastor that you trust this would be a good conversation to have with your pastor. There also is a ministry called Anthem of Hope that is (anthemofhope.org)that is working to help people who are in the fight with depression and those who love them. Please check them out and if you feel they would be helpful as you search for answers I know they would love to talk to you and help you find the answers you need. Praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing this. We need to be open to be able to help others.

    1. This Bible is available at many Christian bookstores. You also can purchase it on Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, Tyndale.com, and I believe it is available through Joni and Friends as well. There is Beyond Suffering Bible app that we have created with Tecarta our app partner. You can search for it in their app store https://tecartabible.com/store

  4. Thank you, Joni for setting an example on how to overcome unexpected difficulties. May God continue to use you to bring hope to those that are hurting and confused about their circumstances. We serve such a good God!

    Many blessings,

  5. I strongly need prayer 🙏🙌🙏 warriors 🙏. I need my primary Dr to referral me to a case worker. I need to get my own subsided apartment ASAP. Right now I am staying temporary at my daughter’s apartment with her family,but unfortunately; I am told that I have to get my own apartment. My daughter is stress with the father of her children. Her living arrangements with her children father isn’t . Please Father help me get a subsided apartment fast. In Jesus 🙏🙌🙏 nightly name. Amen

    1. The word teaches us that God is closer to the troubled heart. He knows exactly what our needs are. I personally believe that your problem has been resolved one way or the other as He is this kind of God who when he resolves the problem he uproots it from the source. If you believe and I do so shall it come to pass…. A M E N. ,,,!,,,,

  6. Praise the Lord! This message speaks to me this morning. I have been undergoing a lot in the past year. Sometimes it is hard to bear. Despite all that is happening, I trust the Lord. He has given me sufficient grace to go through what am going through. I pray that I will overcome all this and that God shall heal my heart.

  7. Love everything I have just read. And it has given me strength in my walk with God. And has made me trust him even more knowing that everything that is happening he is intending it for good. Just like Joseph I live in a foreign country surrounded by xenophobia. But I speak psalms 91 on my life and I see his victorious right hand protecting me. God bless you

  8. I too , not my fault it is me Deaf from born , from not mother I am is natural human normal I can reading & meditation the Word I thanks to the Lord as my saviour

    1. Thank you for your interest! The Beyond Suffering Bible is available at many Christian bookstores. You also can find it on Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, and Tyndale.com. I believe you also can purchase through Joni and Friends.

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