You Matter That Much to God

“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

On one occasion Pastor Powell, a Baptist minister who lived on campus and preached each Sunday in the large church, issued a challenge from the pulpit. “We need to read the Bible more,” he said, “and so I challenge each of you to start in Genesis first thing Monday morning, and see how far you can get by next Sunday.”

So I did it. I took a Gideon Bible and started reading, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

joseph in egyptI was hooked! I kept reading and came to the serpent in the garden, and the guilty pair being expelled into the outlands. And I read about Methuselah, the oldest man who ever lived; and Noah’s Ark; and Father Abraham, and the Promised Land. Then I read about Joseph, a young dreamer who was placed in a pit and then sold into slavery by his brothers. I read about how he went through awful things until he was exalted by God to become a ruler in Egypt.

And then I read these words, spoken by Joseph to his erring kin, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Despite his awful ordeal, it had all worked out good in the end. Somehow my young heart identified with Joseph, and I dared to think that things would work out for me, too.

By Thursday of that week I had finished reading the book of Genesis, and I went to Miss Walker and told her with triumphant exuberance, “Miss Walker, I read the whole book of Genesis!” I was hoping she would be impressed with me and give me that proverbial pat on the head every boy longs to receive from anybody – but especially from his dad.

Instead she turned toward me with a fiery scowl on her face and snapped, “You little liar! You did no such thing. Nobody could read Genesis in one week.”

Right then I knew two things for sure. One, I did too read it. And, two, she did not. I also knew that I could never go to her again with anything that mattered. Over the following years I learned that very few of the adults working there could be counted on when it really mattered. I was lost in a crowd of unwanted kids, and I was alone.

Yet, the Lord was with me – even though I didn’t know it at the time. “When my father and my mother forsake me,” the Psalmist wrote, “then the LORD will take me up!” (Psalm 27:10). This scripture holds great promise for countless abandoned children in today’s disordered world. Perhaps you are one of them. God is the Father of the fatherless, and His name is on the line each time a child is forsaken by his or her parents.

The word forsake means, “to loosen and let go; to leave exposed and thereby permit anything to happen.” It is the ultimate act of parental irresponsibility. But the Lord does not stand by indifferently when parents drop the ball. He takes up the discarded kids, one and all. To “take up” means “to gather an individual into a company of others; to collect (as something of great value), and to harvest as something of great purpose.”

Did you know that you matter that much to God? He sees you as someone of great value, and views your life as one having great purpose. Perhaps right now you are unable to see that, or even believe it – but it is true.

(Excerpt from Released from the Prison My Father Built, pg.32, James Ryle) Get Your Copy Today!

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