Domestic Church - Edge Weekly Blog
What your teen learned this past weekend in Edge!
Last night we will learned about Joseph from the book of Genesis. He was a man who experienced incredible hardship and betrayal, yet despite all he suffered, he trusted in God. Why does God permit bad things to happen? Let's review the story of Joseph.
Joseph was the great grandson of Abraham. As the second youngest of 12 brothers, he was his father, Jacob’s, favorite son. Jacob loved his son so much he gave him a special coat as a sign of Joseph’s place in his heart (Gn 37). You can imagine Joseph’s brothers were not pleased. To make things worse, Joseph had dreams which predicted that each of his brothers would bow down to him one day. Not the best thing to tell your jealous siblings! After he tells them this, their hatred multiples and they decide they are going to kill Joseph. Fortunately, the oldest brother convinced his brothers that murder was not good, but instead, they could sell him to slave traders for money. They sold their brother for 30 pieces of gold and took his coat, covered it in animal blood, and took it home telling their father he had died. Jacob grieved greatly and was never the same. Joseph's world turned upside down as he arrived in Egypt. He was first sold to the captain of the Egyptian guard, a man named Potiphar. Joseph tried to make the best of it. He prayed and trusted that he was in God’s hands now and that the Lord would see him through. Potiphar noticed how successful Joseph was and put him in charge of his property. However, Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph and asked him to have an affair with her. He refused. She grew angry and lied to her husband and claimed he attempted to rape her. Potiphar grew angry and threw Joseph in jail.
While in jail, Joseph encountered 2 of Pharaoh’s servants and interpreted their dreams correctly. Once they were released, he hoped they would remember him and what he did for them. Two years later, Pharaoh had a horrible dream, and the servant remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh he knew a man who could interpret dreams. Joseph correctly interpreted the dream that there was a famine coming. Pharaoh was so impressed he put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. Joseph never wavered, trusting in God.
When the famine came, Jacob sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to collect grain. They did not recognize Joseph, but Joseph decided to test them to see if they had changed. He hid a gold goblet in the bag of his youngest brother, so it looked like it was stolen. When it was discovered, the older brothers begged that Joseph not arrest their youngest brother, their father’s new favorite, and even offered themselves in his place. Seeing that they had changed, Joseph revealed his true identity and forgave them. He was reunited with his family in Egypt.
Like Joseph, we all face suffering and circumstances we did not choose, however, like Joseph, we will find strength if we just trust God. Let’s hear more from Fr. Mike.
Video: Why does God let bad things happen?
What is wrong with saying that suffering is part of God’s plan?
Fr. Mike talks about how the response to tragedy (with an intent to comfort) is usually, “this must be part of God’s plan.” Saying that suffering is “part of God’s plan” can make it seem like God inflicts suffering on purpose to achieve something.
It is important to distinguish between God permitting suffering – and bringing good from it – and him causing it. Fr. Mike is careful to distinguish between God’s perfect, positive will, and his permissive will. His perfect will is always for our good, never for evil. His permissive will allows for human freedom, and therefore, allows for bad choices and suffering. God brings about good despite the evil done by us.
Why does God allow suffering?
God allows suffering for the sake of human free will. Free will gives us the ability to love, which is only possible as a free act. It also gives us the ability to make bad choices and sin. When misused, free will can lead to suffering and evil occurring in the world.
What is the difference between God’s perfect will and God’s permissive will?
God’s perfect will refers to what God wants for every creature in each moment: the good, beautiful and true. His permissive will allows for bad things to happen so that the ultimate aim of our salvation can be attained.
Many things went wrong in Joseph’s life. His family betrayed him, a woman framed him, he was imprisoned, and he was forgotten from a freed servant he helped. However, Joseph never gave up his trust in God. He knew that God was the true guide of his life, and confident in the truth, he was able to do great things despite the evil and suffering he faced. He even was able to forgive his brothers (Gn 45:4 – 8).
Our faith transforms the experience of suffering by bringing every discomfort, disappointment, and disaster into union with the cross of Jesus. We consider St. Paul’s words and confidence in the face of great difficulty and ask God to transform our experience of suffering. Remember, God is all good. He does not cause suffering, but he permits it because he loves us too much to take away our free will.
: Take some time this week to reflect on times of suffering within your family. In light of this lesson, think about what good was brought out of that moment. For example, when my son was diagnosed with Autism, I had great suffering and pain. However, 16 years later, I have learned to see the blessings and joy that have come about from that suffering. I would not be the person I am today without it. It doesn't mean I still don't have times of mourning or suffering, but God's love can bring good out of anything.
Think about how you can unite your suffering to Jesus' suffering - Redemptive Suffering.
is the Christian belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or for the sins of another, or for the other physical or spiritual needs of oneself or another.
Have a great week!
on Monday, November 14, 2022 at 11:27AM