Getting Busy While You Wait
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
This summer, I’ve been studying Joseph’s journey from being thrown into a pit and sold by his brothers to his triumphant rise as second in command in Egypt under Pharaoh. I’ve found it to be an amazing study in the timing of God’s plans and purposes and then in our serving and obeying as we wait on him.
The part of Joseph’s story that I’ve been really chewing on is the two-year span of time when he was in prison. He found himself there after being wrongly accused of trying to sleep with his employer Potiphar’s wife. Now, at first glance it might seem like these years were a waste of time. But to God they were certainly not.
At this point, Joseph had already had two dreams (Genesis 37) in which God illustrated— with sheaves of grain and the sun, moon and stars—that his brothers would bow down to him. We don’t know if Joseph fully grasped the meaning of these dreams at the time, but surely while he was in prison he was holding on to the promise of what God had shown to him. During this time, Joseph also learned patience and trust and humility. He learned to wait on the Lord and to continue serving him where God had placed him, even if it wasn’t somewhere that Joseph would have chosen for himself.
Instead of curl himself up into a little ball and sulk in the corner of his cell, he got busy. That’s right. Joseph wasn’t in prison long before the warden unbound him and put him in charge of other prisoners. And then because he was put into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, he was able to meet two men who had held important positions with the king: the chief cupbearer and the royal baker.
This wasn’t just happenstance. In fact, Joseph interpreted two dreams had by these men while they were in prison. One predicted the demise of the royal baker, but the other showed that the cupbearer would be restored to his position and his close proximity to the king.
Because of this cupbearer connection, Joseph was later recommended to Pharaoh when he needed his dreams interpreted. And the next thing you know Pharaoh was so well pleased with Joseph that he elevated him to second-in-command and in charge of Egypt’s food rationing and storage program for the upcoming years of famine. During that time, Joseph’s brothers would arrive in search of grain and would bow down to him (check out Genesis 37 for the full story).
But the moral of the story isn’t that waiting yields you fame and fortune. It is simply this: when we wait on the Lord and allow him to work his plan in our lives, we will always experience his blessing in our lives.
Now, I know that we’re all waiting on something today. Each one of us has a “prison” area in our lives where we feel stuck, shackled and perhaps very alone. But be encouraged! Just like Joseph, God is with us as we wait. So let’s get busy and see what he wants to do through our lives wherever he has placed us today.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Do you feel like God has forgotten you? He hasn’t for he has promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us. Ask the Lord to show you how to make the most of your current situation today. Like Joseph reached out to the cupbearer and the baker, perhaps there is someone who needs your help and will be blessed by God through you.