Wait until God is Finished!
The story of the life of Joseph is truly one of the most amazing stories of all time. The fact that it is a true story makes it even more amazing. (See the book of Genesis starting at chapter 37) It has all the elements for intense drama: Prophetic dreams ridiculed and rejected but fulfilled in the distant future, parental favoritism causing sibling envy, unjust persecution, a sibling murder plot, failed intervention, the horror of being sold into slavery for a foreign culture, lies and cover-up, adulterous sexual advances rejected resulting in unjust accusations of rape, imprisonment of the innocent, longsuffering, helping of a prisoner to get released with a promise to return the favor forgotten, the elevation of a lowly prisoner to the ruler of the nation overnight due to supernatural events, and so forth.
The climax of the story comes when the brothers of Joseph, who had sold him as a slave into Egypt years earlier, are forced to come to Egypt due to a severe famine. They unknowingly encounter Joseph, whom God has elevated to a ruler in Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. Joseph recognizes them but keeps his identity hidden through a number of encounters with them. Finally, Joseph cannot restrain his emotions and reveals himself to his shocked and traumatized brothers. Gen. 45: 4-8 “So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, I pray you.’ And they came near, and he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Notice that this climax is much different than the revenge dramas that we are accustomed to coming from Hollywood today. Here we see that Joseph is able to recognize God’s hand in this situation. He is able to put aside any pain or difficulty that he has experienced. He is able to look beyond the physical circumstances and understand the long term spiritual intentions that constitute God’s plan and purposes for him and his brothers and God’s future remnant.
The part that impacted me the most about this story was thinking about the length of time that it took for God’s plan to play out in Joseph’s life, and how Joseph was faithful through the entirety of it. Joseph didn’t know how the end was going to come about, or what the purpose was until the very end happened. This appears to be how God works. He doesn’t tell us his whole plan from the start. He doesn’t explain things to us, but He just expects us to be faithful and trust that He is in control and He has a plan for the good. I’m sure that the situations looked very, very bad for Joseph during certain times of his life. Sometimes it seemed that things went from bad to worse to impossible and then still got even worse, until it was done. We need to wait until God is finished before we jump to a conclusion. As hard as this is, we must still wait and allow for God’s plan to completely play out. Faith demands this.
This view of Joseph’s faithfulness puts a whole new perspective for me on what it means to wait on the Lord. We must combine our waiting with a transformation of our perspective on circumstances. Our eyes of faith must overcome or override the eyes of our flesh. We need to become skillful with our spiritual eyes, seeing that God is working out a plan for His purpose. We must put aside our limited physical perspective and any pain or discomfort associated with it.
A few years back when going through an especially difficult time in my life, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this scripture verse in Romans: (8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God , to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I wrote this scripture verse out on a piece of paper and carried it around in my pocket. I also wrote it out with a few other similar ones and posted it up on my bathroom wall right next to my mirror so I would see it every morning. This helped me to keep the spiritual perspective that I needed.
I’m sure that it wasn’t always easy for Joseph, and there were times that he needed to encourage himself in the Lord, and reset his perspective. The bottom line is that he never abandoned his faithfulness and trusted the Lord until the plan was completed. We need to do the same. Let the story of Joseph and the other encouragements in God’s Word be a guide for gaining your perspective on your situation in life. God is faithful and He will accomplish the good work that He has begun in your life.