He can feel it, any day now the warden will call him into his office. Potiphar will be there with the most amazing news. The Wine-Steward has finally found the right moment to raise Joseph’s plight before Pharaoh. Pharaoh was so impressed with his servant’s loyalty to this Hebrew slave, he has ordered Joseph released and sent home with gifts for his family!
It was usually about here that Joseph woke and slowly took in his surroundings; he was still in prison, and it would be a day just like every other day. Once again, Joseph was experiencing the fall that comes when someone betrays you. And Joseph, since he was the man he was, went about his duties as always, doing his best.
“And on the third day, Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the heads of the chief butler and the chief baker [by inviting them also] among his servants. And he restored the chief butler to his butler-ship, and the butler gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but [Pharaoh] hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. But [even after all that] the chief butler gave no thought to Joseph, but forgot [all about] him.” Genesis 40:20-23 Amplified
Does this story sound familiar to you in any way? Have you ever had someone give you their word to follow through on a promise made to you, only to find yourself waiting, and waiting, and waiting?
This is where we find Joseph, and what we Christians often refer to as the waiting room. As far as I can tell, most of us don’t like being there. At least I can say that most of the time I don’t like it, which causes an interesting challenge for me. I firmly believe God has plans for each and every one of us. I can open the Bible and find stories revealing God’s plans worked out for the people involved. Usually, they also reveal time in the waiting room. God uses bible stories to show us His unique choices in dealing with individuals; however, it appears to me every story requires a waiting room. Why?
Anything I come up with will be pure speculation, maybe a little observation, mostly a whole lot of opinion, and some personal experience. Addressing the personal: I feel as though I have been in the waiting room for most of my life! Can I see a show of hands of those who are sure this describes their experience also? Now, I can see why Joseph needed the time in his waiting room; a 17 year old boy has a lot to learn on his way to the top.
Abraham’s experience in the waiting room was needed for certain character flaws to be refined out of himself and Sarah. Looking at their story I can definitely see how much they needed their own waiting room. So on and so forth, it is so easy to see why someone else needs a time out, why they might need some time learning to wait on God and His plans.
And now to bring me back to reality concerning me and the waiting room. I am discovering that in the waiting room is where I really begin to learn to trust God. For in the waiting room we often experience loss, sometimes extreme loss. Loss puts us face to face with where we are putting our faith, and in what we have been trusting.
It is easy to say we trust God when all is well. We have a home, food, bills paid, very little conflict, surrounded by friends, maybe even a Job’s pre-loss experience (abundance and satisfaction). My experience so far tells me we will meet some challenge that will cause us to choose: 1) will I trust God, or 2) will I become trapped in the lie thinking I can do all on my own?
It seems to me time in the waiting room offers opportunities to face who I am and discover who God wants me to become. It allows me to experience revelations concerning the transformations God knows must occur as He begins the recreation process, preparing me for ministry. It is during this time of waiting healing begins, especially personal relationships, emotional relationships, and my spiritual relationship. Each time spent in God’s waiting room is another renewal, building on the last, building on the next, and making it a process of a lifetime.
Slowly, because there are times I take a while to catch on, I am recognizing the wonder of waiting and all it means. The waiting is a promise that God will act in the fullness of time! The waiting reveals how much God loves us because of all He invests in me and you. During the waiting there is time to see God through clearer eyes.
I wish I woke every morning with such a positive outlook, but truth be told I don’t, not even a majority of the time! However, that’s why God gave us Grace. God gave us Grace in our process so we would know this truth, this reality, this Gospel. It’s the Good News! Let Him hold you firmly in His process; He has guaranteed the end. There is no better place to be than in the intimate, passionate, loving embrace of your Father, Savior, Brother, and Comforter. And you can know they are with you every moment of every nano-second in the waiting room, because they said they would be there.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:25-33 New Living Translation
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