God Meant it for Good- Reflecting on History’s Horrors

25 Jun

Where have we all been? You might have been wondering what’s going on- have we all quit our blogging, have we moved out of country, are we busy doing really fun summer things with no time to spend on the web? Well, not so much to quitting the blogging thing, but I think there’s been an unintentional lapse on all of our parts (except Dina! WOW you’re on top of things!). We can forgive Georgie because I think she’s supposed to be having a baby or something in the next little while. But we’ll expect a quick return to the blogging world after she delivers! No more excuses! 😉 And I can’t speak for Stacey and Amy but I do think that summer and all the fun things that come along with that have taken away some of our usual free indoor time. But I do know that no one has officially resigned and once schedules free up and everyone is able, we’ll be able to post more often. So thanks for your patience on behalf of all the ladies.

I for one came back from my trip just a little while ago and have been catching up on regular life things. The trip really was one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures. In Armenia, we had the chance to venture around to some fantastic places. Almost everyday, we were driven to different sites outside the capital city Yerevan, where historic churches, museums and monuments are located. One place that really stood out in my mind, and I’m sure in the minds of the rest of my family members, was the monument to the Armenian genocide. If you’re not familiar with this particular event in history, it would be worth taking a few moments to read about the events of 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians were killed at the hands of the Turkish. I am actually 1/8th Armenian (believe it or not!), amongst a bunch of other things (Filipino, British, and Finnish). Prior to the trip, I did not know much about the Armenian part of my history. One of the only things that I knew was that the events of the genocide are a huge part of the Armenian identity. In fact, all my Armenian friends and family have been personally affected by what took place almost 100 years ago. Many have grandparents and family members who were killed. The fact that Turkey still refuses to acknowledge their responsibility in what took place is a cause of much bitterness and grief for many.

When we visited the site, there was a large torch placed in the ground that is burning continually in remembrance of all those who died. The museum they erected had a guided tour and the young lady who led us was very helpful at explaining the events that led to the genocide. It was silencing. Standing by the large open flame, looking at the flowers placed alongside in honour of the dead, and seeing the pictures, artwork, news clippings, and other artifacts that have been kept to preserve the memory of the horrors that took place, left all of us speechless for most of the tour. If you’re more familiar with the Holocaust of the Jews in WWII, then maybe you can visualize some of the images from that horror, and picture the same thing occurring on a smaller scale some years prior. The emaciated bodies, men hung up to die a slow painful death by asphyxiation, and other painful images of the treatment of the Armenian people were placed all throughout the exhibit. At the very end, there was a large collage of pictures. The young guide explained to us that these were pictures of some of the remaining survivors (men and women who are now in their 90s). I think that the pictures were meant to serve as a ray of hope at the end of the dismal exhibit. Those that survived are the grandmothers and grandfathers of many others who now live in Armenia and other parts of the world. Although Armenians are a relatively small people group, they have not been wiped out in spite of the efforts that were made by their enemies to annihilate them.

As I was looking at the photo, for some reason, the story of the Joseph and his brothers came to mind. After having been sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph spent many years alone in a foreign land. He was jailed for crimes he didn’t commit. He lost his entire family. And yet God was in control over all the events that were transpiring. At one point in his story, his brothers, who had believed he was dead, come to him in Egypt, not knowing that it was him. They were desperate for food, as the famine in the land had left them helpless and dependent on the mercy of the Egyptians. When Joseph realized that it was his brothers, he welcomes them and cares for their needs and forgives them for what they have done. His brothers were initially very fearful of him because they feared his wrath on them for the evil that they had committed. But Joseph says this: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about[a]this present result, to preserve many people alive.- Gensis 50:20. What a response. Can you imagine having that kind of mindset about the events that have happened to you? You were betrayed, sold into slavery, put in prison, falsely accused. Great personal suffering came about because of the evil of others. So how could he possibly say that God meant it for good? I think, that Joseph’s theology was such that He knew God’s character, and trusted in Him in spite of all the suffering that had taken place. He saw that God had used their evil towards him, to place him in a country like Egypt, where he was given a position of power and authority such that he was able to provide for the needs of his own family when the famine struck the entire land. He could have never known that God would use the events that had happened to bring about a good result- the preserving of life.

In thinking about the events of the genocide, I had a similar thought. What a great evil took place in those events. How many people suffered and continue to suffer because of what has happened. But God is in control over every event in history. Not one single thing happens outside His knowledge or care. Even the Armenian genocide. Their enemies had planned to wipe them out entirely. They were not planning to spare anyone! But God prevented their destruction. He persevered a people. And now, years later, there are many who are alive in spite of the destruction that was intended. My family wouldn’t be here today, if God hadn’t protected some of those people. Neither Serge, nor Emma or I would be alive, if God’s hand had not stayed the evil that was intended, and brought good to come of those events.

I know this is not a story that perfectly parallels the Joseph account, but all I was thinking was that God is always in control, even when we can’t see it and don’t know what his plans are. And he is not a God that delights in destruction, but instead preserves life. We can thank Him for preventing worse evils from occurring, and from using even the most horrific events in history for our good. What is the one place we can look to to be sure that this is God’s plan? The cross. If any other event in history were to astonish onlookers, it would have been that one. What great, unspeakable evil took place there. This was the most horrific event in all of history. Every genocide, and every war horror does not compare to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. Why can I say that? What is it about Him that would make His death more unspeakable than anything else in all of the deaths and crimes committed in all of history? He is the only innocent one in all of history, to be punished for crimes he never committed. And I don’t mean punished by human judges- I mean by God. God crushed His own Son, for the sins of other people. When humans die, regardless of the judgement pronounced on them by other human beings, they all stand guilty of sinning against a holy God. But the story didn’t end at his death. He rose from the dead. And that is where the hope is. For all those who would put their faith in Him, and trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins, the greatest good that anyone could ever experience is given to them. So what was meant for evil, God used for our good- the preserving of many lives! Thank Him for that today.

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One Response to “God Meant it for Good- Reflecting on History’s Horrors”

  1. digdeepwithdina July 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM #

    LOVE THIS

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