But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Gen 50:20
Many years ago, I did a course in Short Story writing. The lecturer spoke of a protagonist and an antagonist. The protagonist is the hero, the good person. The antagonist, as you probably guessed, is the rival, the enemy, the villain. Both characters are important to the story.
In Genesis, we meet a young man named Joseph who moved from being an “unknown” to the second in command of a great nation. A quick look at his rise to power shows that an antagonist dogged his steps all the way to the palace. First, it was his brothers and then slave traders.
Soon he landed a decent job in Potiphar’s house, with the potential for promotion. However, as a slave, Joseph would never rise above his master. Thing is, Potiphar’s house was not his final destination. God’s plans for Joseph involved people bowing down to him. See Genesis 37:6-10. No one bows down to a slave. Therefore, another antagonist surfaced. This time it was Potiphar’s wife, who “cast her eyes upon Joseph”. She lied, accusing the promising young man of assaulting her – Genesis 39:12-19. She was only fulfilling a role.
You see, the role of the antagonist is to help the righteous protagonist (Joseph) to reach his godly potential. Truth be told, none of them at the time, knew this. Joseph, however, finally understood it. He later explained to his brothers that though their intentions towards him were evil, God allowed it, because He had a bigger plan that would benefit nations. They did not understand when they sold him into slavery, that they were sending him off to the palace.
Job17:4a said, “For thou hast hid their heart from understanding…..” Though He was capable of giving understanding to Joseph’s antagonists, God chose not to. This lack of understanding on their part caused Joseph tremendous grief, eventually landing him in prison. His destination, however, was the palace. Therefore, he could not remain in prison.
The second part of Job 17:4 is interesting. Job said, “… therefore shalt thou not exalt them”. Your antagonist will give an account for their wrongdoing. This promise however does not compared to the knowledge that God has a good plan even in allowing your antagonist to cause you pain and humiliation. It should strengthen your resolve to run with joy, the race set before you. Just trust Him.
Romans 8:28 AMPC puts it all in perspective: 28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
For those who love God, the story does not end there. Job 17:9 shows that the righteous shall endure and be victorious. We shall progress from glory to glory getting stronger and stronger.
Antagonists may believe they are humiliating the righteous, but they are involuntary destiny helpers. When you feel overwhelmed remember the words of Hebrews 12:3 AMPC Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
Prayer: Father, please help us to see the greater good even when others cause us great pain. Help us to understand the need to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God through Christ has forgiven us. Amen