Have you ever been charged with a crime you didn’t do? Or handed a punishment you didn’t deserve? I have a dear friend whose husband was minding his own business one day (on his way to workout actually) when he got pulled over. And the next thing he knew he was being cuffed and thrown in the back of a sheriff’s van. Little did he know his identity had been stolen and used to buy (let’s just say a few too many) prescription drugs.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 40
Key Verse: “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful…Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 31:23-24
Completely helpless and obviously a weeeee bit concerned, Andy sat in jail the entire day charged with a class D felony; while Cari called everyone she could think of who might possibly be able to pull some strings on behalf of her falsely accused husband. And then she waited. Come evening she was able to post bond for him at Easy Ed’s Bail Bond Service. (Honestly that was the name.) But it was far from over. It took almost a year to clear things up.
Joseph however, had no one to speak his defense. No one to post bond for him or pull a few strings or clear things up, so he remained in jail. “Numbered with the transgressors” just as Jesus was (Is. 53:12), and appointed caregiver of the king’s chief cupbearer and baker, who had apparently done something to offend the king, he waited and waited for God to get him out. But it didn’t happen.
After some time (we don’t know how long) the cupbearer and baker both had dreams on the same night but with no access to Pharaoh’s wise men for understanding, they were noticeably troubled. Joseph on the other hand was not, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me” (v. 8).
An absolutely astounding statement considering Joseph’s own dreams had occurred more than a decade prior and had yet to come true. If it were me, I probably would have responded with something like “Sorry guys wish I could help but I stink at interpretations. I once had these crazy dreams my family would bow down to me but obviously I was way off.”
But Joseph didn’t even blink. The only explanation for his confidence – an unwavering faith in the dreams God had given. He had not lost hope. He had not given up. He firmly believed it would happen. (Anyone else put to shame by this kid’s relentless faith or is it just me?)
After listening to the cupbearer describe his dream of a vine with three branches that budded and blossomed, and shot forth grapes quicker than my three year old can devour a pack of oreos, Joseph gave the happy interpretation. “In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office.”
Great news thought the baker. So he shared his as well. Only the outcome wasn’t so favorable for him. “In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head – from you! – and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you” (v. 19). Talk about bearer of bad news! Way to not beat around the bush there Joseph.
Then they waited a never ending three days to see if Joseph was right. The cupbearer anxious for the day to arrive while the baker hoped it’d never come. And Joseph? Well I imagine him a bit anxious as well. And hopeful. This was his chance! His God given opportunity. He’d asked the baker to remember him and speak to Pharaoh on his behalf. Surely he would. The whole thing was obviously God’s doing.
But when the third day dawned and everything happened just as Joseph said it would, there was no summons from the king to see the boy who’d predicted it all. No orders to bring up the man falsely accused. In fact there was no request at all. None. Because the cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two whole years.
Two whole years! Think Joseph was disappointed with God? I do. “LORD why? Why did you not do anything? I just don’t understand.” (Ever been there?) But here’s the thing. God was doing something. He was. It just wasn’t evident. Had the cupbearer mentioned Joseph to Pharaoh right away, it likely would have meant nothing to him. He had more important matters to tend to than a Hebrew slave. But when the time was right, it would mean everything.
A reminder to me to trust God because only he knows the why behind the when.
Allowing Joseph the opportunity to interpret the cupbearer and baker’s dreams, not only set the stage for Joseph’s rising but probably reignited the hope of his own dreams. And solidified a confidence within him that would come in handy when it was time to interpret Pharaoh’s.
He just needed to wait a little longer. The story was bigger than just him. And more often than we realize the same is true in our lives. It’s not just about us. It’s about God and his plan and his people and his purpose. Which sometimes requires us to wait a little longer (You have no idea how much I didn’t want to type that sentence.)
Giving us opportunity to bring glory to God through an unbending, unrelenting, undeniable faith. Wanna be someone great? Be a person of faith in a season of wait. Joseph didn’t do anything miraculous. He simply had faith in a long and difficult season of wait. When things looked bleak. When it looked as though it would never work out. When he was disappointed…he trusted God. My friend, “The LORD preserves the faithful…Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 31:23-24) And you too will be someone great.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you been disappointed with God? Perhaps right now you’re in the middle of “two whole years”, how can you showcase a relentless faith? What Scriptures can you hold on to?
What lessons have you learned in seasons of wait?
(Photo credit: Pixabay)