Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Friend to Friend
As I sat in a cute little tea room, I listened to a friend recount her story of pain. She had taught Bible studies, blogged, and led in the women’s ministry at her local church. Leading, writing, and speaking energized her as she felt equipped and called of God to use her gifts to serve others. After a series of misunderstandings, a group of women’s ministry leaders asked her to step down from her position of teaching.
She questioned herself, wondering how this had happened and how God wanted her to use her gifts now. After some time to process and pray, she humbly asked the women’s leaders for a path back into ministry. They confirmed her call and her ability as a teacher and gave her constructive feedback. However there was no place for her to teach in women’s ministry at that time. As we sat having tea several months later, she was still waiting for the path back to become clear.
Joseph in the Old Testament knew what it was like to wait for people to remember him. He was waiting for his God-given dreams to come true with no evidence that things would change anytime soon. During periods of waiting and isolation such as Joseph experienced, we have much time to think and process our circumstances. These are days when bitterness is knocking on our door, bidding us to nurse unforgiveness and thicken the walls to keep others out. Joseph couldn’t control his circumstances, but he could govern his own spirit. Though initially he may have flaunted his father’s favoritism, he learned to work hard, honor God, and maintain integrity during his time of captivity. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit / Is like a city broken down, without walls” (NKJV).
Of course, Joseph was human, just as we are. He probably didn’t respond initially to the challenges and hurts in his life with thoughts such as these:
- My brothers’ betrayal is such a great opportunity for personal growth.
- It was worth it to be tempted by Potiphar’s wife every day and then falsely accused when I chose to do the right thing.
- I’m so glad the cup bearer forgot me so that I can suffer longer here in prison.
I’m guessing Joseph had to work through the hurt and the hate. However, he was able to move toward healing and right responses. As we see with other biblical characters, God was more concerned with Joseph’s character than with his comfort.
I find that the same holds true in my life. God seems more concerned about my character than He is about my comfort. Can you relate?
In our times of waiting, God prepares us for new beginnings. Whether they are big or small, we all have realities that we can’t change in life. Like Joseph, the only variable we can control is how we will choose to respond to these events and the people involved in them.
- Will we maintain our integrity when no one is looking?
- Will we choose joy even when our circumstances go from bad to worse?
- Will we posture ourselves for forgiveness or vengeance?
If you are in a time of waiting, ask God to soften your heart and identify any areas where you might have seeds of bitterness taking root. Ask Him to transform you from the inside out so that He can do His healing work. He never forgets us. He sees us and longs to help us through the seasons when it seems like we are waiting to be remembered.
Dear Lord, I want to wait on You. Help me not to jump out ahead of You. During seasons of waiting, I want to go deeper in my walk with You. I love comfort, Jesus, but help me to value character even more. Grow me through my difficulties and give me eyes to see the bigger picture of what You are doing in my life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What area in your life feels like a season of waiting? What are some practical steps you can take today to draw nearer to God and reimagine your trials in the light of His goodness?
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of Mom’s Choice Award-winning Total Family Makeover as well as three women’s Bible studies including First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiah. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. Find her online at www.melissaspoelstra.com.