Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar,
one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” (Genesis 37:36)
What does the word meanwhile suggest to you? For some of us meanwhile means that life just goes on as normal. Nothing exciting.
Interestingly enough in Genesis 37, the word meanwhile serves an entirely different purpose. It leaves the door cracked, suggesting there’s more to come. Above all else, it reminds us that God’s ways are hidden and that God’s purposes are worked out in secret and unnoticed ways. Despite what we see, God is working. Despite what each day’s events might suggest, God is fulfilling the divine purpose.
That’s what takes place in the story of Joseph. Despite his brothers’ belief that they had done away with their annoying little brother by selling him as a slave to a caravan of Midianites, Joseph ends up in the house of Pharaoh and ascends to a place of prominence and power, eventually being able to save his brothers who had dealt so cruelly with him.
You see, meanwhile affirms the hidden hand of God in human affairs. If we take that word meanwhile seriously, if we take seriously God’s hidden agenda in this world, we can respond differently – creatively – to the situations life presents to us, including the times we’re waiting for something to happen .
The Southern preacher Carlyle Marney once said, “Unless we learn to live in the meantime, we won’t amount to much.” That’s the biggest challenge we face, isn’t it? Living in the meantime. Living in between events. Keeping on when the landscape is barren. We can manage the meantime if we hold fast to meanwhile. We need to hold on to the fact that God is at work right alongside us. If we take this word seriously, we will be able to say that no matter what, “Something is going on.” We can live and work believing that nothing is wasted. Meanwhile means that something is always going on.
This is a good thing for us to remember when we find ourselves in times of transition, whether individually or as a congregation because God sometimes uses side roads and even delays for divine purposes. Meanwhile means that nothing is wasted when it comes to God’s purposes! †
Blessings! Pastor Becki