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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Imperfect Waiting; Perfect Timing

How many times have we all sat in a Bible study or Sunday school class and agreed that yes, God's timing is perfect? We nod our heads and remember back to all those times when we have waited and prayed and anticipated, only for God to delay the answer to our requests until just the perfect time. And we concur that it is good, very good, just as it should be.

Phooey!

The truth is, I hate waiting for God's perfect timing. It's absolutely no fun to wait and wait and wait, to almost give up and then somehow be re-energized enough to wait some more.

In the waiting I get confused, dismayed. I try to figure out where things went wrong, what I did wrong, what I could do differently, why others don't cooperate, how I could speed things up, if God really even cares, even notices.

But while I'm doing all that stewing and fussing, God is...good, still in control, working His perfect plan, growing me up, working in places I can't even see, orchestrating a much more thrilling story with a much more amazing ending.

Such was the case with Joseph while he continued working in a government prison day after day, year after year, for a crime he hadn't committed:

"But remember me when it is well with you, 
and please show kindness to me; 
make mention of me to Pharaoh, 
and get me out of this house. 
For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; 
and also I have done nothing here that 
they should put me into the dungeon."
(Genesis 40:14-15)

Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph; 
but forgot him.
(Genesis 40:23)

Eventually Joseph did get out of that dungeon, in God's perfect timing. And the Bible tells us nothing of Joseph fretting or worrying or growing anxious or despondent. Maybe he didn't. But in these few verses I see him doing what I often do while waiting on God -- trying to fix the situation himself, trying to move things along, trying to help God out. And yet, at least for now, it doesn't work.

I can only imagine that as the days passed immediately after Pharaoh's birthday party when the butler was reinstated just as Joseph had predicted, that Joseph waited day after day with a fading hope. 

I've experienced that fading hope, too. Haven't you? When some little something happens and you think, "This is it! This is the key that will finally unlock the door!" 

But it's not.

Because ultimately God alone holds that key.

Here's the bottom line. I don't like the waiting. I don't think I ever will. My husband who is lying flat on his back with extreme back pain will surely concur that the waiting is absolutely no fun. It's not even pleasant.

But I still love the fact that I can trust my God in the waiting. I can know that He is working, even when I can see absolutely no evidence of any progress. He is good and He is with me in the waiting.

And one day, in one fashion or another, He will move. He will make things happen for my good.

Then it came to pass, 
at the end of two full years,
that Pharaoh had a dream...
(Genesis 41:1)

Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh,
saying, "I remember my faults this day.
When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, 
and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard,
both me and the chief baker, 
we each had a dream in one night,
he and I.
Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream.
Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there..."
(Genesis 41:9-12a)

Ah, God's perfect timing. For Joseph would be released just when Pharoah was in need of a little wisdom, a little divine intelligence. And Joseph would go from the jail keeper to ruler in one amazing leap. And we would all take notice of this young man's dilemma, his lengthy wait, and his divine deliverance for years to come. And we would be encouraged. And God--not the butler, not Joseph, not luck, not smart manipulation--would be glorified.

May God chip away at our imperfections as we wait...and wait and wait. Waiting is no fun. But may He receive loads of glory when, at just the right time, He reveals His divine plan. It's always worth the wait to receive God's perfect timing.

2 comments:

  1. OK...you're stepping on toes here...I absolutely HATE to wait! Whether for God's perfect timing...or at a red light....patience is not my forte! But I am learning that usually God has us wait for something because He has something MUCH better for us in the long run! While I don't like it at the moment, it usually turns out better than I could have ever dreamed up in my own little human mind!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kay,

    What a great word about Joseph and waiting! I was just reading about him today in Genesis 39.

    It's fun when God speaks to us twice in the same day on the same topic.

    I don't like to wait either - especially when it seems like nothing is happening.

    Thanks for the great reminders... I esp. like this: "But I still love the fact that I can trust my God in the waiting. I can know that He is working, even when I can see absolutely no evidence of any progress. He is good and He is with me in the waiting."

    Blessings to you,
    Melanie

    ReplyDelete

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