Waiting: God’s University

Years have passed. Joseph is almost 40 years old. His dream that got him in such trouble has taken him from the pit, to Potiphar’s house, and to the prison. Now he is Prime Minister of Egypt. Perhaps he reflected on that dream so many years ago:

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (Genesis 37:5-8 ESV)

Now, years later, they show up. He never realized his dream would come to fruition like this. He was no longer a smug teenager; he had become a responsible adult. His ego had long ago been checked by suffering and the harsh reality of responsibility. His brothers and father got hungry–so hungry that Jacob sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get some food. When Joseph saw them he wept. As a matter of fact he sent them out of his presence so they couldn’t see him crying and his weeping could be heard throughout the palace.

As a teenager Joseph never saw the dream playing out like this. As a grown man he had a dilemma. Would he accept the ones who sold him into slavery? No doubt he had already forgiven them. Now he had the upper hand. Now he could make them serve him. Would all those years in Potiphar’s house resisting the advances of Potiphar’s wife now be avenged? He could make them pay for his forgotten years in the prison.

It’s funny how waiting on God often has more to do with preparing us for His plan for our lives than the actual plan itself. God will accomplish His purposes. We call that the sovereignty of God–His ultimate control over the course of human (and your personal) history. We spend much of our lives in training. There are some things God has for you that you simply cannot handle right now.

Waiting is God’s opportunity to refine you, to mold you into the man or woman He intends you to be. Your experiencing God in the waiting years enables you to handle the responsibility of the fulfillment of His plans. In case you feel alone, consider this list of “Who’s Who” in God’s story:

  • Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 when Isaac was born.
  • Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert…and returned to Egypt at the young age of 80!
  • David was God’s anointed king–and ran from Saul for at least 7 years.
  • Paul the Apostle met Jesus on the Damascus Road and went into training for most likely 10 years before he ever preached!
  • And most profoundly, Jesus, the Son of God, was born to Mary and lived in obscurity for 30 years before performing his first miracle or preaching his first sermon. God in human flesh was the Christmas gift that wasn’t fully unwrapped for 30 years!

Waiting is the norm in God’s economy.

You may feel that you are in a holding pattern…that nothing significant is happening. You’re in good company. And God isn’t finished with you yet.