Several year ago I was an up and coming employee, doing the right things and showing potential to do more. I was offered a promotion to run another clinic that had been failing. After praying, speaking with my wife, and thinking it through, we decided this was the position for me. I accepted the position and was ready to get started! A few days later I was informed that they were going to give the other person who wasn’t doing so great another chance. For me that meant no promotion, just stay where you are.
Obviously I was disappointed. This was the wrong move for the company and a big let down for myself. I had a few options at this point…I could find other employment, I could stay in my current position and let my disappointment show in my performance, or I could wait it out for my next opportunity and continue to do my best.
I feel like I made the right choice and continued to do the best that I could. Not only did I wait it out, I continued to be productive while waiting. Low and behold, several months go by and this other employee quit and they rolled me into the position they had originally offered.
Luckily for me, I only had to wait several months to get what was promised to me. I didn’t have to go through any hardships through that process. I just had to wait and continue to do my best.
I was reminded of this life event recently reading through Genesis about a guy named Joseph.
Even if you’re not familiar with The Bible, it is likely you have heard of Joseph…not the Joseph who raised Jesus, but the Joseph who wore the technicolor dream coat. He was his dad’s favorite son, and his brothers were jealous of him. Joseph was someone who was truly blessed by God to do great things, however he really had to be paient and trust that God had him on the right path.
Twice Joseph had a dream from God that he would someday rule over his father and brothers, he would be a man of power and position. This made his brothers even more jealous,so they sold him into slavery and off to Egypt he went. For someone who had a blessing from God to be a ruler, starting off as a slave in another country seems to be the wrong place to be. It would be very easy for this to be the end of Joseph’s story, spending his days in slavery in Egypt. These were the circumstances he was put in, it would seem a good time to forget God’s plan and just deal with the circumstances.
Instead, Joseph decided to make the most of his time in slavery. Once in slavery it was evident that God was with him because everything he did went well. Eventually, he was put in charge of the Pharaoh’s (Egyptian King) household. Now it finally looked like his blessing of being a ruler was starting to take shape, as he now had some power and position. Next thing he knows, the queen starts hitting on him and he was turning away her advances daily. Finally the queen gets fed up with being rejected and tells Pharaoh that Joseph was the one trying to get her in the sack! Pharaoh immediately threw Joseph in prison.
The man who was destined by God to be a leader had been a slave and now was in prison.
Again, Joseph had a decision to make. He could mope in the middle of his circumstances, or he could make the most of the place he was in.
Now, God had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. While in prison, Joseph helped a few people who were close to Pharaoh interpret their dreams. He actually stayed in prison for 2 years waiting to get out. Finally someone he had helped remembered him and got him out. Once out, he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was put second in command of all of Egypt!
The guy who had a God given destiny to be a ruler finally was!
It would have been very easy for Joseph to throw in the towel several times in his journey. Personally, I would have been questioning God’s plan when I was put into slavery or put into prison.
What can we learn about patience and God’s timing from this?
God’s timing is not our own. He will put us where we need to be when we need to be there.
What can we do in the meantime while we are waiting?
- Keep your eyes on the prize. Joseph knew God’s plan for him, so he didn’t mope when things got hard…he kept moving forward.
- Use your God-given gifts to serve others. Joseph served Pharaoh’s household as a slave and interpreted dreams for other prisoners while in prison.
- Make the most of every opportunity. Joseph worked hard a slave to impress his masters. Joseph had the opportunity to interpret dreams while in prison. Joseph had a chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and made the most of it.
Remember, just because you have been called and equipped to do something, it may not be the right time for you. Don’t just sit around! Continue being disciplined in the things you are doing. Wait patiently for your opportunity.