“We do not live by the facts of our experiences, but by the ways that our interpretations have shaped those facts for us…. Whatever trouble [life] brings to us is essentially caused by the wrong thinking we bring to it.” –Paul David Tripp, Lost in the Middle
It is not the FACTS of our lives that bring us trouble or blessing, but our INTERPRETATION of them.
We can interpret a painful trial in various ways. Interpretation #1: God is not good. He doesn’t care about me.
This interpretation will not bless you, but bring you trouble.
Same trial, Interpretation #2: Though this is extremely painful, God is sovereign, loving and good. He has ordained this trial ultimately to display his glory and conform me to Christ. He never does me evil, only good, so in the end, this is for my good.
This interpretation will bless you.
In Genesis 45, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers who have not seen him since wickedly selling him into slavery almost 20 years earlier:
And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (3-8)
Joseph’s amazing interpretation: Though you sold me here, ultimately it was God who sent me before you to provide for you and your families in this famine. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.
Later, after their father died, his brothers again feared Joseph would take revenge.
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (GE 50.19-20).
Joseph interpreted his brothers’ sins against him as ordained by God to get him to Egypt, where as Pharaoh’s right hand man he could provide for them in famine. Joseph saw their sins as being under the control of his sovereign, loving God who causes evil to work for his glory and the good of his people.
Whatever the facts of your life, look to the Lord and his Word for the interpretation. Trust God’s interpretation and put your hope in him.