I don’t have a problem waiting. Actually, I’m pretty good at it. Waiting really isn’t a problem for me. I usually just settle for something not as good as the original thing I wanted along the way and never make it long enough to suffer through waiting.
On second thought… maybe I’m not so good at waiting.
There are so many stories in the Bible of people waiting, which is great because we don’t have to wait to see how their situations ended up. We can flip to the end of their chapter, or story and read the end. No waiting! This isn’t how our experiences work obviously. We have to drink in every bitter tasting moment of our unresolved waiting.
Joseph in Genesis chapter 40 has at this point spent what probably felt like a lifetime waiting. He was given a clear picture of his life’s calling at a very young age in a dream. He then spent decades doing just about everything other than what he knew his life would eventually entail. He was at this point in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Two fellow inmates, both former residents of the pharaoh’s palace were there with him. One was the royal baker and one was the royal cup bearer. Both of them had dreams that Joseph interpreted for them. One was destined to be reinstated three days later, while the other was three days from the wrong end of an executioner’s pole. The reinstated one promised he wouldn’t forget about Joseph. He promptly and immediately forgot about Joseph. Until, Genesis 41:1 says “Two full years later, the Pharaoh had a dream…”
The story ends happily with Joseph interpreting the dream for the Pharaoh and enabling an entire country to survive a famine and in so doing, fulfilling his calling he learned so long ago. I want to draw your attention to that two year period. Why would he have to go through that? Wasn’t the stage completely set for him to finally fulfill his calling? What more could he have possibly during that time? He was in prison after all. I don’t believe the point was what he was supposed to do. I believe the issue at hand was less about what he was or wasn’t doing and more about who he was or wasn’t. I don’t believe he was waiting on God in the way we would assume he was. He was on hold because he wasn’t yet who he had to be for what was next. He was in the process of being formed into the man required for the journey at hand. What needs to be taken into account is Joseph really couldn’t do anything about his formation. As much as we think otherwise, we don’t control our own formation. I Thessalonians 5:23 is pretty clear about who does the forming. It says “Now may the God of peace sanctify you wholly”. Think back on when you last went through a period of real growth in your life for second, chances are you felt like you were on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Often times God uses life’s challenges to form us, mold us and purify us. We can’t simply try harder and be better, holier, whatever. It doesn’t work that way. God molds us. So, in that was Joseph was waiting on God, but he wasn’t waiting to get out of prison, he was waiting to be formed into the man God had him to be, so that he could get out of prison, so that he could save thousands of lives.
I remember having a conversation with a young man once about how much he wished he could just have a girlfriend. Trust me when I tell you he was ALWAYS on the prowl. He was trying so hard any girl who wasn’t scared off from him should have scared him off. I told him to worry less about when God would give him a girlfriend and be more cognizant of being the type of man who God could entrust one of His beloved young ladies to. I told him to spend more time praying that God would reveal to him his own areas where he needed to grow and spend less time asking for a girlfriend. I would have to agree with God on this one… the young man was not ready.
It is easier to see where others are being impatient than it is to see this in ourselves. We feel like our wait is at this point a cruel and unusual waiting. But let me ask you a question.
Are you where you need to be to live out that calling you are tired of waiting on?
Spend less time complaining about the wait and more time asking God where you lack formation. He wants to mold you for what’s next. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the formation. Know that God is kneading you into what you need to be.