Suppose a malicious partner cons you and takes away lots of money from you. You bring up this matter to a wise person who has experienced the ups and downs of life and want to consult him; that individual tends to give hope to you; in these situations there is an proverb among the religious people in my mother language which says:

"If God wishes, an enemy can become a source of good";

It means: "Don't worry; if God wishes, even the worst people cannot harm you and they will act as your friend in an unwanted way! Because it has been God's wish to protect you against any bad circumstance..."

Of course this is a direct translation, but I need to know if it makes sense in (especially) American English or there is another proverb for it.

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    I am trying to create a saying in English, but it's not getting much traction: God is great, but you should stop at the red light. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 16 '16 at 17:46
  • @TRomano - Russian has a proverb with this meaning: "На Бога надейся, а сам не плошай" = "Do trust in God, but don't act in foolish ways (bad ways, inept ways)". Roughly equal to "God helps those who help themselves". – CowperKettle Jan 16 '16 at 17:52
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    Maybe a slight mod will help it catch on. I can ratchet up the Americana a bit: Put your trust in the Lord, but stop at the red light. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 16 '16 at 18:07
  • This proverb of us says an absolutely different thing; it says even if the that evil person wants to harm you, if God wants good for you, nothing bad will happen and even his bad intentions can be turned into good happenings for you; – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:39
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    @CopperKettle Ronald Reagan once said to Michael Gorbachev a similar sentence; Doveriai no poveriai = Trust but verify; your offer made me to remember about that saying; but I'm looking for a proverb; I know many proverbs in AE which can be used in this sense; but they are not exactly what I need! – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:39

From Wiktionary:

The possible source of the expression is the Christian hymn titled "God Moves in a Mysterious Way" written in the late XVII century by William Cowper.

From Wiktionary's entry for the above idiom, there are two synonyms:

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    Every cloud has a silver shining can work; I knew it, but it was not too close to the concept I was looking for. "blessing in disguise" does not too; but the first one "God works in mysterious ways" is the nearest to my meaning. Thank you very much @copperkettle; It helped me a lot... – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:43
  • @A-friend - you're welcome! – CowperKettle Jan 16 '16 at 18:44
  • I also heard: "God (moves) in mysterious ways" ;) – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:45
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    Aha; so maladiets; togda mne nada etovo skazat shto vi yzhe oochin prikrasno gavarite po angliski daragoi @CopperKettle ;) – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:54
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    @A-friend - thank you! Your Russian is also great! (0: – CowperKettle Jan 16 '16 at 19:00

The proverb you mention is from the King Solomons' Proverbs in the Bible. The Hebrew original is: ""בִּרְצוֹת ה' דַּרְכֵי אִישׁ גַּם אוֹיְבָיו יַשְׁלִם אִתּוֹ" and there are many English translations here. Some nice options are:

  • CEV: "When we please the Lord, even our enemies make friends with us".
  • MSG: "When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand."
  • CEB: "When people draw favor from the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them."
  • Nice sentences @erel, but they do not convey exactly what I'm looking for. I am more for what "copper" offered. Thank you anyway. – A-friend Jan 16 '16 at 18:52

In UK English: 'It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good'.

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    I do not understand how this is related to the proverb in the OP? – Erel Segal-Halevi Jan 16 '16 at 18:39
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    I thought that there might be something of the same effect, which did not require the involvement of God. If you want to retain the involvement of God then my suggestion certainly has no relevance. – Great Crosby Jan 16 '16 at 19:01

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