Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
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.
The parents of Minnesota's 10-year-old Mackenzie wanted to give her a birthday party.
To make that wish a reality they invited 10 girls to the festivities.
For whatever reasons, all ten girls were unable to be at the celebration. Naturally, Mackenzie, who has some speech and learning difficulties, felt she had been ostracized by people she had hoped were her pals. It was a dark time for her and the entire family.
But what could be done? After all, you can't force people to come to a birthday party.
First, Mackenzie 's parents decided to try again. Her mom went on Facebook and explained the situation. She asked for a number of girls -- girls who were strangers -- to help her out and come to her daughter's party.
Mom got more than she bargained for.
People read that Facebook page and they were touched by Mackenzie 's story. In a few hours, hundreds of people said, "We're coming!" Included in that list was the mayor of the town where Mackenzie’s family lives. He came and he also declared the party day: "Mackenzie Day."
About 400 people showed up, including Minnesota Vikings wide-receiver Charles Johnson and his family. Some folks showed their support by sending money and local businesses donated food to feed the festive throng.
And Mackenzie ... how about Mackenzie? She said, "I have a hard time making friends in school, but thanks to all of you ... my voice was heard. I love you all." Her mom says they are going to use the extra money they had received to support organizations that put on birthday parties for sick children.
The whole story reminds us of the biblical narrative of Joseph. Having been sold into slavery by his brothers, years later, after the Lord had lifted him to a position of power, he told his brothers, "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good ...."
There is no doubt there is evil in this world. But that doesn't mean God's people must accept it. There are times we can look evil in the face, dig in our heels, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us change things. That's what Mackenzie 's mom did; it's what the mayor of Shakopee, Minnesota, did; it's what those businesses and guests at the party did.
And it's what we can do too. It's what we do as we reach out to others in love, even as Jesus did the same for us.
Dear Lord, we live in a world which is very evil. Evil likes to push us around. Help us realize that we, in the Savior's Name, can push back in a most loving way. When we do, we pray the Holy Spirit will turn evil into good. In Jesus' Name. Amen.