What are you waiting for?
- A job or an internship?
- A child?
- A spouse?
- Healing in a broken relationship?
- A prodigal to come home?
- An opportunity?
- A diagnosis?
Waiting is not easy.
It never has been.
I doubt it ever will be.
When we wait, we’re anticipating something we really, really want or need—or think we need—even when it’s something we’re afraid of.
When we wait, the void of what we’re waiting for becomes a black hole—sucking our time, attention, and focus. Even when we participate in other life activities, the waiting unrelentingly pulls at us. Distracting us. Stripping us of our joy and peace.
Waiting well is even harder.
Because waiting well calls for intentionality and deliberate choices.
Waiting well demands a resolve to believe God and to trust Him to do what’s BEST for you—even if it’s not what you want.
Waiting well requires you to be faithful where God presently has you while you wait for where He is taking you.
Like Joseph (Genesis 37-41).
Here is a young man whose jealous brothers sold him to some slave traders who carted him off to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar.
The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat! Genesis 39:2-6
However, Potiphar did have something else to worry about.
His wife was hot for Joe.
After numerous daily attempts at seduction (and Joe’s evasion), she opted for trying to force him out of his clothes. The only way to escape her clutches was to shed his coat and run for the door.
When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.” She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!” Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. Genesis 39:13-20
No trial. No questioning. No remembering how honorable Joe served him for 11 years or how everything he owned flourished under his care. Nothing.
But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. Genesis 39:21-23
While in prison God enabled him to interpret two other prisoner’s dreams—one was to be released and reinstated to his position as chief cupbearer to Pharaoh while the other was going to be executed. (Genesis 40) Joe had just one request of the cupbearer, “Please remember me. Mention me to Pharaoh.” (vs 14-15)
Can you imagine the hope that flooded Joe’s heart? He was going to get out of there! But then one day passed. Then another. Then a month. A year. And still, he waited. Ever been there?
See, as soon as the cup-bearer was freed, Joseph was no longer in his thoughts. He was so self-focused, another’s plight meant nothing to him. How the experience of his terrifying dream and its interpretation playing out exactly as Joe said it would could escape his remembrance is beyond me. But it did. He forgot all about Joe…for two whole years!
And then Pharaoh had a dream…(Genesis 41).
If you don’t know the end of the story, I recommend reading it! WOW! What an excellent story!
Here’s my point.
- Joe waited for 11 years while a slave to go home and see his father
- He waited for 2 years for the cup-bearer to remember him in prison
- He waited. And waited. And waited.
He could have let himself get bitter. He could have allowed anger to reside in his heart. He could have permitted his heard to harden. But he didn’t!
Instead, he chose to trust God while he waited. To believe God as the days became months. To serve faithfully where he was. To give 100% and complete his tasks with excellence.
He didn’t sacrifice his integrity or character for his selfishness. Instead, he built it, enhanced it.
Centuries before Solomon etched out Proverbs 16:3, Joe lived it. Before Paul was even a flicker on the horizon, Joe modeled, Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:22-24)
God later revealed why he was in Egypt—to save millions from an oncoming famine. Joe was Exhibit-A for Christ’s words, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)
Can I claim those words as truth in my life?
If not, what needs to change?
As one who believes all sin starts with pride,
- Let’s start by confessing our pride and self-reliance and submitting to God.
- Let’s choose to wait well.
- Let’s determine to be faithful where we are while we wait for God to lead us to where we are going.
- Let’s commit to praying FOR EACH OTHER to wait well, not just what we are waiting for.
Waiting well is hard.
But the more we seek Jesus, the more we allow His truth to be our life-breath, the easier it is to wait for our circumstances to catch up to His promises.
And when we support each other, the burden is lighter. Encouragement flows. And we can come to the end stronger, with our integrity intact and our character refined to mirror that of our Savior.