I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the grocery store on my way home from work. Long lines are common at this time of the day. I guess everyone waits until they are heading home from work to stop by the store. You have to stand there and wait! The magazines at the checkout counter may entertain for short time; but after a bit, I find myself impatient.
Why is waiting so hard? It seems partly because we live in a world of instant gratification. We can grab dinner without ever having to emerge from our vehicle. If our order is incorrect and we have to walk into the restaurant, we are irate. In a busy and hurried world, waiting is not easy.
In our story this week, we find Joseph in prison. You may remember that he is incarcerated for allegedly raping Potiphar’s wife. Unjustly accused, his time in prison must have tested his patience. In time, Joseph encounters two men disturbed by dreams. The cupbearer and the baker are two of Pharaoh’s trusted servants. We are not sure how they ended up in prison, but they must have offended Pharaoh in some way. Joseph, in charge of all the prisoners, has an opportunity to get to know these men. God gives him the ability to interpret their troublesome dreams. For one, the dream meant freedom; for the other, it meant death. As the cupbearer finds freedom, it seems Joseph’s will get his ticket out of prison. Yet we read,
(Genesis 40:23 NIV) The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
This must have been a stunning disappointment for Joseph. It seemed that God had given him the ability to interpret the cupbearer’s dream so that he would be granted freedom. It appeared that God was moving Joseph toward freedom. Yet Joseph finds himself let down and questioning God’s intentions.
For those of us who know the end of the story, we are okay with Joseph being in prison a bit longer. But for Joseph, dismay and doubt must have ruled his thoughts. You see, he did not know the story’s ending. He had no idea what God was going to do.
You and I often find ourselves in this place. Perhaps we’re disappointed because God isn’t providing in the way we imagined. Maybe a job application was refused, a scholarship was denied or medical report returned ominous results. We are left questioning, doubting or disappointed. In times like these, we must learn to trust the One who sees the future, the One who determines all things. Joseph’s story reminds us that God’s timing is perfect. May we learn to trust as we wait on God. May we learn that He has our best interests in mind. He is faithful, no matter our circumstances.