And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it. – Genesis 40:14-15 (NLT)
I’ve made quite a few posts on patience and waiting on God, not just on here but my social media pages as well. If you follow me on those pages then I’m sure you’ve come across quite a few of those posts. Can I just be real? The main reason why I write so many of these posts is because this is one of my major struggles! (I’m encouraging myself while uplifting others at the same time. What a great 2 for 1?) When it comes to planning and waiting I just can’t seem to grasp the concept. Not to say that I haven’t done well (I’ve grown so much) but I do find myself at this same road block every now and then.
The Book of Genesis gives us a glimpse at the moments where Joseph could have struggled with patience too. I mean I think I would be quite impatient and upset with God if I was sold into slavery by my so-called family, sexually harassed, lied on and then thrown into prison. So I can give Joseph the benefit of the doubt. Also, the fact that he remained in God’s will and waited on Him to open up the right door gives him all of his points right back. He made up for it in the end. 🙂 (Let’s aim to do the same!)
As unfortunate as it is, some of you may have similar stories to Joseph. Whether it’s being betrayed by family or a close friend, being persecuted for something you didn’t do or just feeling like you’ve been in “a pit situation” for way too long. I’ve had my share of struggles as well and couldn’t wait for the day when God delivered me. But the truth is, just like God had a purpose and a plan for Joseph’s pain, the same goes for us too! Singleness, miscarriage, death of a loved one, financial loss or a health issue can all be tools used by God, to mold us into the women and men that He created us to be and to serve a greater purpose for His glory.
God knows all things. So He knew that Joseph would be betrayed yet He still allowed it. Many of us may have found ourselves asking the question why. Why did this happen? Why did God allow this test to come my way? Although the bible doesn’t specifically mention Joseph asking the question why, we catch a glimpse of his concern in Genesis 40.
After Joseph uses his gift to interpret the cup-bearer’s dream, he asks him to remember him and mention his name to Pharaoh in hopes of being released from prison. Needless to say, the cup-bearer doesn’t remember Joseph until Pharaoh needs a dream interpreted 2 years later. (Genesis 41:1)
***NOW HOLD UP! The Lord knew Joseph had already been in prison in my mind (as well as Joseph’s probably) “long enough.” And just when it seemed like the sun was about to rise, there was light at the end of the tunnel, the storm was coming to an end and the (well you get the point), Joseph still had to wait another two years. Now in God’s perfect timing 2 years “ain’t nothing” but in a world where 2 days seem like forever it can be quite difficult to continue to wait and trust God.
For instance, you’re knocking on 30 or 40 and are unmarried or haven’t yet had a child, you’ve been trying to get your business up and running for the past few years and it isn’t blossoming like you’d hoped, you’ve been struggling with depression or anxiety for as long as you can remember and even though things in life seem to be going well, you still can’t seem to shake that spirit of emptiness. So how do you gain motivation to keep pushing when you feel all pushed out?
I’m sure Joseph had the exact same question and felt the exact same way. Many times we cause ourselves to stumble because we try to write and illustrate our own story even though God’s plot may be entirely different than our own. The wonderful thing about Joseph is that he didn’t give up even though God shut the door on the fabricated blessing he tried to orchestrate.
*Fabricated blessing: The human attempt of concocting a blessing in an effort to attach it to God’s name and provision.
Yep at that moment, whether he knew it or not, Joseph was preparing to “stir the kool-aid” and cause himself to forfeit or delay God’s plan. Now fortunate for Joseph, when he saw that he wasn’t getting out of prison any time soon he stayed put and continued to wait on the Lord. But place some of us in a similar situation and we go out of our way to make our own way.
You quit your job because your boss is mean and you have a hard time holding your tongue or you settle with Plan C because you’re tired of waiting for God’s best. Either way at some point we delay our process because we refuse to trust God and endure through our storm. The thing we fail to realize is that God’s plan and timing is perfect so if He has us waiting; it’s obviously for a good reason, even if we don’t understand.
Here’s some of the reasons why I believe God didn’t allow Joseph’s fabricated blessing to succeed:
1. It wasn’t His timing – Sometimes our environment can give off the facade of a “microwaved lunch,” where it appears that everything is hot and ready to go but on the inside it’s still cold and unfinished. Although Joseph could have appeared mature and ready to receive the promises of God there may have been some “buried weeds” that needed to be uprooted that only God was aware of. Not only that, God was also preparing the environment for Joseph’s arrival. (SN: While God is working on you, He’s working for you. Anything sooner than the time Joseph was released would have been short of God’s best both naturally (for Joseph’s prominence and provision) and spiritually (God saving His people through Joseph).
2. God makes provision for the vision – When God ordains something He maintains it. If Joseph would have been released, he could have easily been released as a freed slave with no riches or power and there wouldn’t have been any obligation for God to press it upon Pharaoh’s heart to elevate him. He could have also broken out of prison at any point, even prior to interpreting the cup-bearer’s dream due to a “victim and wrongly accused” mentality that could have ended him up in more trouble or on a wanted poster. If Joseph would have escaped he would have had to maintain his freedom and provision by his own power rather than relying on God’s sovereignty. (SN: Quit taking matters into your own hands and let God work no matter how much it hurts. Operating in impatience or a self-righteous/deserving mentality only exacerbates your situation in the end and delays your promise from coming to pass. Ask Abraham and Sarah!)
3. Because it’s not only about him – When Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers as a teenager he was pompous, spoiled and immature and by no means capable of fulfilling the task that God had placed on the inside of him. Although Joseph didn’t know, God knew that his pit and prison experience was preparing him for his palace blessing. God elevated Joseph not just for Joseph’s personal benefit but to save His people from the severe famine that lied ahead. (SN: Get out “yo feelings” and realize that what you’re going through is not even about you. God is going to use what you’re going through to bless someone else, whether it’s through your testimony or an act that God presses upon your heart to commit. So knock the dust off your shoulder and keep it moving. Someone somewhere is depending on your obedience.)
4. God gets the glory in his story – One of the main reasons I believe God didn’t allow Joseph to be released is because Joseph would have attributed the glory to himself, the cup-bearer or to Pharaoh. When God writes your story He wants all of the creative rights, no copyright infringement going on here. God pre-orchestrated the right door at the right time so there would be absolutely no doubt that He was the source of it all. (SN: This is the part of Joseph’s story that I absolutely love. After Pharaoh had his dream, he called all of the magicians, sorcerers, warlocks you name it to come and interpret his dream. In laments terms, he brought the qualified and over-qualified yet none of them could complete the task. We’re talking the best of the best, the creme of the crop yet they couldn’t interpret something as simple as a dream. You get my drift? When God opens a door, it doesn’t matter how qualified someone is in the opinions of man, when it’s FOR YOU, it’s FOR YOU and no one can take your place! In the Egyptians eyes, Joseph is nothing more than a foreign slave and prisoner that “blossomed overnight” and became the 2nd hand man in command in all of Egypt. (Little do they know about all of the preparation and pain Joseph had to endure in order to get to the palace. But that’s another topic for another day.) The moral to this story is only God can pull a presumably “overnight” stunt like that.) #alwaysontime ***Cue praise music.**
…If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed. – Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)
Now I’ve meditated on this encouraging scripture many times and have just now had this epiphany. “It will not be delayed.” Isn’t that interesting? Because it seems that I’ve lived all my 25 years in moments where it seemed like a lot of promises and blessings were delayed. Yet Habakkuk tells us that it [vision] will not be delayed. So that means that in all those moments where things don’t happen in our lives when we want them to it’s simply because it isn’t meant to. Now surely we know that God’s timing and our timing is completely different. Many of us may have caught ourselves saying “God is always on time” and that may be because He’s never late, even though our frustration and impatience cause us to think that He is. God doesn’t allow anything to come into our lives that He doesn’t want to happen. So that means we should rest in our moments of impatience that only arise due to the fact that WE FEEL that our blessing is long overdue. The unfortunate thing for us is that what we feel doesn’t have any jurisdiction on who GOD IS. He’s a God that knows all, from the biggest to the smallest and if he takes care of birds and lilies, surely he will take care of everything that concerns us. So why do we allow ourselves to fall into pits of discouragement and despair? Let’s shake off the woe is me attitude and continue to press towards the goal. (Philippians 3:14)
Even though it doesn’t feel like it, everything you’re going through is working for your good. There’s power in your patience so don’t let your current circumstances trick you into thinking otherwise. When moments of discouragement arise remember that you’re not being overlooked, you’re only being prepared.
Peace and love.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. – James 1:4 (KJV)