The last fifteen chapters of Genesis are filled with the story of a young man who learned first hand the art of “waiting.” As a young teen Joseph had a couple of dreams. His critical mistake was sharing those dreams prematurely with his brothers. When he told them that they would one day bow down to him, they didn’t receive it well. Joseph paid dearly for that mistake.
One day his father sent him into the fields where his brothers were shepherding to take them some food. They seized the opportunity to get rid of him once for all–they grabbed him, ripping off his coat of many colors–and threw him into a pit. When traders heading to Egypt passed by, Joseph’s brothers sold him. Faced with the dilemma of what to tell their aging father, they dipped Joseph’s prized coat in animal blood and told dad he was killed. Jacob mourned, the brothers gloated and Joseph learned a new language in Egypt.
Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, a high-ranking Egyptian official. He served flawlessly. His dreams seemed a not-so-likely reality as he managed Potiphar’s household. Then one day–oh the difference a day makes–Potiphar’s wife found Joseph attractive and threw herself at him. Joseph repeatedly refused.
So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. (Genesis 39:6-10 ESV)
Joseph faithfully waited on his God. God gave him the dream and God would fulfill the dream. Though a slave, Joseph never lost sight of the God who gave him those dreams. When he wouldn’t succumb, Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to rape her and Potiphar threw Joseph in prison. Again he actively waited. In a foreign land surrounded by strangers, Joseph waited longingly for His God.
Tomorrow we’ll discover the next chapter in Joseph’s life. His entire life was a holding pattern–he waited.
Perhaps you feel you’re in a holding pattern, waiting for your ship to sail. You feel bound to the shore, at a proverbial stalemate in your life. Joseph’s life is a testimony that there are no stalemates in God’s economy. Your suffering is his stage to announce his sufficient grace. Your poverty is his opportunity to show his plenty. Your emptiness is his opportunity to showcase his fullness.
Wait…longingly and faithfully.