Why is waiting so hard? A couple weeks ago at Element Church, John Wilson (Associate Resident Pastor) preached an amazing sermon on waiting. It was so challenging and so comforting. If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch it yet, I highly recommend you go HERE and do that. He did a masterful job talking about waiting well!
Waiting is hard enough, but waiting well? That’s another story, right? It got me thinking about the meanwhile. “Meanwhile” is the waiting period. It’s the couple longing to be pregnant, the spouse waiting for the other to return, the parent of the prodigal child or the dream left unfulfilled. Whatever it is, meanwhile is the period of waiting we go through.
So what do I do in the meanwhile?
If you had to choose one word to describe the life of Joseph in the Bible it’s meanwhile. To start, none of his brothers liked him, they eventually threw him into a pit to die but instead sold him to a band of slave traders. He worked as a slave in the house of an Egyptian leader, was wrongfully put in prison, and finally worked his way up to be second in command over Egypt.
Something stood out to me the last time I read through Genesis about Joseph’s story. In Genesis 37, after Joseph’s brothers sold him to the slave traders they told a lie to their father Jacob that Joseph had been eaten by wild animals.
Genesis 37:36 says Meanwhile, the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
See the word? Meanwhile.
Now, we read the story of Joseph with the end in mind right? We know what eventually happens. Yes, he was thrown into a pit and left for dead by his brothers. Yes, he was sold into slavery. Yes, he served as a slave in Potiphar’s house, was wrongfully imprisoned (for at least 2 years) before rising up the ranks in Pharaoh’s court.
We know that eventually, there was a famine in the homeland of Joesph. Egypt was well prepared for the famine because of Joseph’s leadership and his brothers, not knowing Joseph was even alive, showed up to ask for help. After much back and forth, Joesph reveals himself to his brothers, is reunited with his Father and they live “happily ever after” you could say.
Joseph actually understood something about the meanwhile that we need to as well. Years later, after their father died, his brothers started begging for their lives. They thought, “Now that our dad is gone, surely Joseph will exact revenge on us by taking our heads.” But look what Joseph said.
Genesis 50:19-20 19 “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
God intended it ALL for good? The pit, Potiphar’s house, prison, all of it? You see, Joseph understood what we need to understand: It’s in the meanwhile that God is moving on our behalf.It's in the meanwhile that God is moving on our behalf. Click To Tweet
We can’t always see Him moving, but he is.
This was at least 40 years after they sold Joseph into slavery. After 40 years of meanwhile, Joseph finally saw all of God’s movement on his behalf. God used the pit, He used Potiphar’s house, He used prison and He used Pharoah himself to bring Joseph to the exact position he needed to be where he could spare his entire family’s life.
Psalm 105:19 says Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.
So what do I do in the meanwhile? Trust that God is moving, and focus on having the right character not the right circumstances in your life!
It’s in the meanwhile that God is moving in our circumstances, and it’s in the waiting that we can work on our character.It's in the meanwhile that God is moving in our circumstances, and it's in the waiting that we can work on our character. Click To Tweet