As I mentioned in
here on 4G, I had recently been drawn in again to the story of the life of Joseph. We were reading it as a family and we just finally finished it. I have never looked at his life so thoroughly and perceptively. This time I think I've learned enough from Joseph to write an entire book about it...maybe one day. ;-)
Over my next few posts I'll be sharing some of the lessons I've learned from Joseph. Here's the first and probably most important:
Timing is everything!
If you're anything like me you hate waiting. I am about as impatient as they come. I hate standing in long lines. Whether it's at the grocery store, a church potluck, or at the DMV, I hate lines. I always park near the garden section at Wal-Mart because there's never a line at the garden section. And they can weigh your fruits and veggies just like they do in the express lane. In and out. No lines. No waiting. Problem is I often approach the more weightier matters of my life in the same manner; trying to find the quickest and easiest way out. In life though, there is often no easy way out. And there may not be a line, but by some strange set of circumstances, you will still end up having to wait.
When you look at Joseph's life, at each of the major stages, there was a waiting period. When was just a teenager and received those dreams from God, that was an invitation to wait to see what the Lord was going to do in his life. But like the clueless little teen, he brags and blabs about it to his brothers (who already despise him for his father's favoritism). This is what landed him in a pit. There's a lesson there somewhere. When he goes to Potiphar's house he must wait and endure the injustice of slave life even though his father is a rich nobleman. Then, in prison, he must wait more than two years after Pharoah's taste-tester even remembers that he owes Joseph a favor. And even in the palace, the seven year of plenty and the seven years of famine are a waiting game in their own right.
Timing is everything though. See at every juncture he must wait. But at every juncture God's timing is impeccable. When Joseph is thrown into that pit what were the odds that a caravan of merchants would be passing by on that very same day, at that very hour? And I'm not sure how long he had been working for Potiphar, but isn't it ironic that he goes to prison at the same time as the very guys who would be his ticket out? Speaking of getting out, what if Pharoah's taste-tester had told him about Joseph as soon as he got out? Would they have remembered to ask for Joseph when Pharoah had his epic dreams two years later? Would Joseph have even stayed in Egypt that long?
To me it's all very clear albeit painful. And here's a lesson that's closely related: God is in control! God had Joseph's life perfectly planned out to the very minute of each major event. Now does that mean God was the source of his pain? Absolutely not, but God saw it, and worked it into His plan for Joseph's process to the palace. He took the pain, added some pieces to it, and made it a present to be unwrapped at the perfect time. Although it makes God hurt to see us hurt He knows how to use our painful experiences to benefit us and bless others. But He won't take us out of the pit, or prison, or any other oven of painful circumstance until the moment when He knows that we're ready and it's the right time. And as the old folks always say, "He may not come when you want Him, but He's right on time." And that's because He knows that timing is everything.
"Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage. Wait I say on the Lord."