I see you waiting. You’ve been patient. Or maybe, more honestly, you haven’t been.
You’ve waited and watched it happen for everyone else but you.
You’ve dreamed about it, wished for it, you’ve even prayed about it.
But still…it hasn't happened.
You haven’t landed the job. You are still the same size. That girlfriend hasn’t shown up or the pregnancy test is still negative. The big break is as allusive as it ever was and the opportunity is nowhere to be found. You’re still searching for community and your big dreams still seem miles away.
You’re still waiting.
It’s still not here.
So…you just keep waiting.
The word waiting seems to come with a lot of baggage and stigmas.
So, it made me wonder. Did the heroes of our Faith, scattered all throughout history, ever wait?
And if so, what did their life look like as they… waited?
It seems to me there are few people who had to WAIT longer, or as often, as Joseph.
Yep, the Jospeh with the tenchnicolor dream coat and the 11 singing brothers.
For a man who waited in pits, jail cells and deserts, he sure accomplished a lot.
So, what did He do in his waiting that seemed to prepare him so well for the rest of his story?
And what can we learn from His story that can provide purpose and vision to our seasons of waiting?
As we dive into this beautiful, complicated, compelling story, we can identify two elements of Joseph’s life that change everything we ever thought about waiting.
1) Choose To Thrive
“After Joseph had been taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelites, Potiphar an Egyptian, one of Pharaoh’s officials and the manager of his household, bought him from them.
As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.”
Jospeh was a slave, living in a foreign country, bought by a man, against his will.
He was in a season of waiting.
Waiting for freedom, waiting for rescue, waiting for his big dream to come to fruition.
It seems to me he had every reason to just settle in and wait.
To scrape by, get the job done, and just dream about the future.
But, surprisingly enough, He didn’t.
He planted himself and he chose to thrive.
He didn’t only survive. He actually thrived as a slave living in a foreign country against his will.
You can feel sorry for yourself and your situation for as long as you want, but it’s not going to help your thrive and it won’t get you to your next season any faster.
You can tell me that your life sucks.
You can tell me it’s just hard to wait, and you would be right.
But as we look at the life of Joseph we can agree this man exemplified a shocking tenacity through incredibly difficult seasons of waiting.
He was a slave. Living in a foreign country. Bought by another man. Against his will.
And yet, he chose to dig roots and reflect the heart of God even in THAT season.
And because he did, the entire home of Pharaoh was blessed. All because one servant boy decided to thrive DURING a season of waiting.
2) Serve In The Waiting
“Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were locked up. But there in jail God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; he put him on good terms with the head jailer. The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners—he ended up managing the whole operation. The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.”
“After they had been in custody for a while, the king’s cupbearer and baker, while being held in the jail, both had a dream on the same night, each dream having its own meaning. When Joseph arrived in the morning, he noticed that they were feeling low. So he asked them, the two officials of Pharaoh who had been thrown into jail with him, “What’s wrong? Why the long faces?” They said, “We dreamed dreams and there’s no one to interpret them.” Joseph said, “Don’t interpretations come from God? Tell me the dreams.”
Next we find Jospeh in his lowest place yet: Thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t even commit.
There he sat, a young man in his prime, forgotten in the dark of an Egyptian prison.
Surely now, Joseph would sulk.
Surely now, Jospeh would complain and admit to failure.
Surely now, Joseph would just…wait.
But, once again, we witness the incredible tenacity of this man.
He doesn’t only look out for his own needs, he actually looks to the needs of others.
He ends up managing the prison, taking a role of leadership and honoring God with the opportunity in front of him.
His leadership was noticed time after time after time in the most unlikely of places.
And then, when you already think Joseph is going above and beyond, Jospeh notices the “long faces” of two of his inmates.
Because Joseph was not so preoccupied with the WAITING that it prevented him from serving, caring for and loving the people God had placed around him.
Instead, Jospeh’s eyes were open and looking for opportunities to invest in others, even from the desperation of a jail cell.
So where are you struggling?
Are you dreaming?
Are you thriving?
Are you serving?
A season of waiting is not a season that is wasted.
Rather, as we see in the story of Jospeh, these seasons of waiting may just be preparing you for a future beyond your wildest dreams.
After all, Joseph went on to become the second most powerful leader in Egypt, saving an entire nation of people from famine and starvation.
Your season of waiting will not prepare you if you do not embrace them, dig your roots down and CHOOSE to thrive and to serve right where you are.
The season you are in is not a mistake.
It has purpose.
Let's be a generation who trusts God to work in the seasons of action and the seasons of waiting. And as we wait, may we choose to thrive, choose to serve, and choose to bring glory to our Creator.