Saturday, January 18
Wait for it
Scripture: Genesis 44-46, Luke 18
Genesis 45:5–8 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.
Genesis 45:24 So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!”
Three times Joseph tells his brothers, “God sent me here, not you. God sent me here to save your lives.”
This insight was only possible 22 years after his brothers sold him into slavery. For 13 years, Joseph suffered as a slave, then a prisoner. During those years, I doubt that he could say, “God sent me here.” He couldn’t say that even after he was elevated to Prime Minister of Egypt. It wasn’t until his brothers came seeking food (9 years after Joseph had come to power) that the final piece of the puzzle fell into place, and Joseph was able to see the purpose of God in his terrible suffering.
One other thing: why did Joseph tell his brothers not to quarrel on the way home? One possibility is that the brothers had the unenviable task of figuring out what to tell their father! Are they going to tell Jacob what they really did to Joseph—I can imagine them arguing, assigning blame. Or will they pretend they didn’t know how he got to Egypt, or even just repeat Joseph’s words, “God sent Joseph to Egypt.” I can imagine a quarrel breaking out over that!
It’s difficult to discern what God is doing in the moment. Often, it takes time and reflection to see clearly what God’s purpose is. It took Joseph 22 years, and a confluence of circumstances, to discern God’s saving purpose in his suffering.
Are you in the midst of hardship and wondering, “Where is God? What is He doing?” Hang on. Don’t give up. God will show you His purpose, or how He will use your experience for your good or the good of others.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Wait for it.
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You in the midst of my hardship, when I can’t see any purpose in it. Help me to wait on You, knowing that Your purposes and good plans will eventually be understood.