In the Meantime
I love me some Joseph! I mean I really, really, really love Joseph. I love him for many reasons, but I think it’s mainly because I can relate to him.
He was foolish when he was young. (Aren’t we all?)
He was the favored child. (To this day, my brother still thinks I was my parents’ favorite!)
Joseph’s father doted on him. (As did mine.)
He was given fancy gifts. (As was I.)
He was spoiled. (So was I.)
Humility was not his strong suit. (Unfortunately, I’m not much better.)
His mouth got him into trouble. (Need I say more?)
But praise God that He changed him! Praise God that he grew Joseph in wisdom and maturity!
When Joseph was 17, God gave him a dream about what was to come. He didn’t ask God if he should share his dream with others. He just did. At 17, I’m sure his approach wasn’t exactly what it should have been. I’m sure it was more bragging than bashful, more proud than prudent.
“Guess what God told me!” Joseph said to his brothers. “God said that I was going to rule over you. You…and Mom….and Dad, y’all are all going to bow down and worship me.”
OK. So, maybe he wasn’t quite that blunt, but his presentation of the dream was done in a way that his brothers quickly caught on to what he was saying.
They weren’t happy.
They already hated him (Gen. 37:5).
Joseph had just added some C4 to a smoldering fire, and it was only a matter of time before the burning embers of resentment turned into flickering flames of anger which would eventually ignite in rage.
On an ordinary day, Joseph sets out at the request of his father to check on his brothers (Gen. 37:13-14). Why wasn’t he with them? I can only speculate. They probably didn’t want to be around him, so they left him at home to hang with Dad.
As Joseph set off to find his brothers, he had no idea what laid before him.
He had no idea his brothers would do what they did.
He had no idea that he road to the palace began in a pit.
He had no idea that before his brothers would bow, he would be broken.
Do you think Joseph would’ve wanted his “dream” if God told him his brothers were going to plot his demise? Do you think he’d approve of God’s plan if he knew he would have to pass through such pain, heartache and betrayal? Would he hop on board if he knew the next 13 years would be spent enslaved and falsely imprisoned? Would you? Would I?
Sometimes, like Joseph, God gives us glimpses of what He wants to do with us. Every now and then, He’ll bless us with a fleeting view of the big picture – a peek at the blueprint of His building – a taste of the sweetness to come. Sometimes God lets us in on His secret. Sometimes.
What does He do in the meantime?
He teaches us to trust Him.
He stretches our faith.
He tests our endurance.
He teaches us His ways.
He holds us in His righteous right hand.
He wipes the tears from our face.
He proves that His ways are always right.
He shows us that He can work anything for good.
He teaches us that love sometimes means a lesson.
He proves that His timing is impeccable.
He demonstrates that His grace is sufficient.
He teaches us to hope only in Him.
He builds our character.
He displays His power and might.
He shows us His glory.
And in the end, He proves to be faithful.
The next time you find yourself faced with a seemingly unfair situation; or you find yourself standing in a pit of pain that seems to swallow you whole; or you are staring at odds that appear to be stacked against you, just remember Joseph.
Remember his promise and his journey.
Remember that God is bigger than your present circumstance.
While you can’t see the forest for the trees, He does, because He created not only the trees but the forest in which they stand. He knows exactly where you are and exactly what you are going through, and He knows exactly how to finish what He started (Philippians 1:6).