Genesis Day 61: A long wait... and then it happens
Most of us, or maybe some of us, think about life as a slow linear progression. Maybe it is because our early life is a progression, a climb, through school years 1 through 12. Maybe it is because we have organizations like the military and scouts that have people progress “up the ranks”.
I am not sure why, but I am one of those people who thinks about life as a linear progression—despite evidence to the contrary.
I can still remember the day and the place. I was standing in the Engine Room (the place where a ship’s engines and much of the supporting equipment are lodged). My boss’s boss came up to me and said, “Collum, I need you to be the Shift Supervisor for 6 weeks, then you will go back to your regular position.”
That meant I got a six-week promotion. Six weeks turned into two years. The details aren’t important, but let me be clear: it was driven by circumstances external to me. My boss’s boss would have loved for the original six-week plan to have worked out.
When our life changes, out of the middle of nowhere—is that the random chance of the universe, is it our just desert for our patient hard-work, or is something (or Someone) else at work?
We come to Joseph. God has grown him from a brash, 17-year-old boy-dreamer to a prudent, 30-year-old man of influence. So much so, that God is revealing the interpretations of dreams to him, and not just any dreams, but dreams on which hang the future of Egypt.
Joseph has been waiting. Not just the two years he has been in jail. He has been waiting, and working, much longer. There is this sense that Joseph’s connection to God is strong—and stayed strong—even amid difficult life circumstances.
Please note, I am not suggesting that God sends evil your way. He does not. And, until we meet Him, we won’t understand fully all His workings. He does promise, however, to use our circumstances, if we invite Him in. The Bible says God uses everything for good, for those who love Him.
That verse leads people who write blogs (me!) to quickly note that God uses the storms of life to shape us—I just have trouble remembering that truth when I am in the boat.
Which brings us back to Joseph. Finally, it happens. Joseph finds himself standing before Pharaoh. What do we see? Joseph gives glory to God. He says, “It is not me, God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” (v.16)
Consider, at age 30, 13 years after his enslavement and imprisonment, Joseph the ex-con Hebrew shepherd is catapulted into the role of Prime Minister of Egypt.
To Joseph’s credit, the text continues to show Joseph giving God all the glory—taking none of the credit for himself.
It makes me think back that day in the Engine Room: was that just circumstance, or God?
I ask this question not to put myself on the same plain as Joseph. No, I ask this question to challenge myself.
Do I think about my life, and live my life, as if God is intimately involved in all the details? Instead of complaining, do I embrace God and this non-linear life I find myself in the middle of?
For not a sparrow falls apart from God; so, too my Engine Room experience, and yours.
Life isn’t linear—and God is present in all of it.