This summer I have been reading through Genesis, and no matter how many times I read this book, Joseph’s story continues to be my favorite. I love his undeniable focus in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations. I love how, when it appears God has left Joseph alone, He is simply acting in His timing to bring about His untouchable plan. I also love the Lord’s creativity. God could have preserved life and saved the people from the famine in a more timely manner and, not to mention, use a more worthy candidate. But God chooses little brother Joseph, a slave, a prisoner, and to many people, a failure, to move history forward.
Beyond these reasons, what amazes me the most is how much waiting God required of Joseph. If I were Joseph, perhaps the lowest moments for me would be the years waiting in prison. After interpreting the prisoner’s dreams, Joseph was in prison for two more years until the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Two years. I can only imagine the amount of doubt and fear and hopelessness Joseph had to fight each morning he woke up in that cell.
Aside from those years in prison, Joseph was sold into slavery at age 17, and it wasn’t until he was 30 when he finally became overseer to Pharaoh. Thirteen years of waiting for God’s promise to Joseph to be fulfilled. I can’t think of anything I have waited on for 13 years, much less two.
As my church in Australia, CBC, is going through a Seek process of coming together as a church to pray (see previous post), God is calling us to wait, just like Joseph. But also like Joseph, this waiting is not synonymous with idleness. I often get an image of a waiting room at a hospital or doctor’s office when I read verses like, “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Waiting on the Lord does not mean inactivity. As Joseph waited on the Lord to fulfill His plan, Joseph was working in Potiphar’s home, running a prison and interpreting dreams. I’m sure he cried out to God on multiple occasions, “God, when?” or “Lord, how much longer?”
In this waiting process for the church, God is not asking us to stop services and close down until He gives a clear vision of where He wants us to go. If anything, the Lord has called the church to more action than before. He has called us to come together daily, commit at least an hour together to pray and seek and yield to His Spirit as He transforms this body of believers. Through waiting, the church has become incredibly intentional during each service and prayer meeting in simply seeking Him. We may be waiting on a clear vision, but we are certainly not stuck in a silent waiting room. God is speaking, and the church is moving.
Just in the few weeks I have been here, huge transformation at CBC has taken place. Walls are coming down, people are being empowered, burdens are being lifted and members are coming to really know Jesus for the first time. I am sad I can’t stay to continue seeing the power of prayer transform this church, but I am only grateful for the fruits I have been able to see in a few short weeks. God blesses ministry as His people wait on Him.