Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream… (Genesis 40:23-41:1)
Have you ever felt forgotten by God in ministry or in dealing with circumstances in which relief would come by the hand of God? I have found in my study of Scripture and in experience is that the Lord is never in a hurry and His timing is perfect. But as a human being living inside of time (as opposed to God being outside of time) I often feel as if time is of the essence and God is missing an opportunity to act and reveal His glory (or just provide me with relief or bring me honor in working through me). The Lord has the big picture in view and we can always trust Him. We need to learn to wait. God is always preparing us for something bigger.
The passage above is from the life and times of Joseph. Joseph is almost ready to embark on his crowning achievement as a Master-directed administrator, being used of God to save the world in the time of a devastating famine. Joseph is almost ready. What lessons does he need to learn that two more years of prison living will provide? We do not know. We often do not know what the Lord is doing in us, but from experience we can look back and see when the work is accomplished that God had it all figured out perfectly.
Joseph was being trained by his father Jacob to be an administrator of the family business. His reward? He was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph then shown himself to be a great administrator in household of Potiphar – his reward? Prison. Prison will be another opportunity to get on the job training as a great administrator until the opportunity to show that he could also interpret dreams. His reward? Two more years of prison. Just another opportunity for preparation of what is to come.
The lesson to be learned from the life of Joseph is to learn to wait with great expectation. Why? Because we are being trained by God for something bigger – that is God’s method. Our story may not be dramatic as Joseph’s but we can look back at experiences that are less than idea, maybe inflicted upon us by others, and say similarly:
But as for you (Joseph’s brothers), you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Genesis 50:20).
Waiting will be rewarded with God’s perfect will. Waiting maybe painful. Waiting may include sacrifice. But Paul put all in perspective this way:
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, emphasis added)
To live in God’s will takes sacrifice, the life changing work of the Holy Spirit, and time. Learn to wait with great expectation for what God wants to accomplish in and through you.