I am an educated Mississippi, now Alabama, girl with a couple of degrees and more than a few certifications. But let me tell you about those degrees; they are just like a curly little pig’s tail. They make a real cute decoration BUT they don’t mean there’s a bit more meat on the pig.
But there is one thing I do know…life happens between the Pit and the Palace.
When God’s timing doesn’t look like what I want it to look like, I have a tendency to whine and complain, and I’ve even been known to throw a pity party.
“Why can’t my life be easy like hers? This isn’t how things are supposed to turn out. This is not how I planned it!”
But how many of you know there is a process that we need to walk out between the pit and the palace? It’s a process. Life lessons. Things that have to be learned before we can competently step into our Promised Land.
Of course I’m referencing the story of Joseph in the Bible. As a young seventeen–year–old, he had a dream that he would rule over his brothers. But somehow he knew deep down inside that it would be his destiny. Has God given you a dream? A dream that might seem too far above your talent and skilllevel?
Little Joe made the mistake of telling his brothers of his improbable dream (most likely with a nana-nana-boo-boo attitude). They promptly took care of his puffed-up, scrawny little dreams. They threw him in a pit and out of guilt rescued him only to sell him into slavery. In no time Joe found himself in prison. Quite a far cry from ruling over his older brothers, huh?
Most Bible scholars believe Joseph spent several years in prison. Once out, he was quickly promoted with responsibility in the Pharaoh’s entourage. But being a hot young foreigner in a land of Egyptians, he quickly caught the eye of the First Lady of the land. (Oh yeah, he was hot!)
Despite having spent time in prison, Joe knew that was not how he was going to get to be the ruler he had dreamed about. So he turned her down. And lo and behold … If momma ain’t happy … OR hell hath no fury … our boy Joe, now the ex-con, was quickly sent back to prison.
How many of you know that he had to be asking God, what the heck? Was that dream all those years ago just the effects of bad pizza? OR even worse… I am a fool to think I could ever lead anyone!’
Back to prison for a few more years. Mind you, this was not Juvie. These were real criminals. They were not there for singing too loud in church. But during those years, Joseph learned to be faithful to his God. Regardless. Finally released because the now-new Pharaoh had had a dream that his peeps could not interpret. And guess what? God had given Joseph the spiritual gift of interpreting dreams. Way to go, God! Is there a gift that you haven’t developed? Could God be waiting for you before He promotes you?
How many of you have ever been asked to do something out of your league and you knew if God didn’t show up you’d surely fail miserably?
Dream interpreted and free at last, Joseph is given favor and responsibility with the new Pharaoh. At which he excels. Really well! Thanks to Joseph’s faithfulness to his God, he was able to save the entire nation of Egypt from starvation. He was also able to save those dirty rotten brothers of his who sold him into slavery to begin with.
But wait. Joseph didn’t see them like that. All those years in prison, Joseph chose to heal instead of fester. He chose to lay down his hurt instead of nurture it. He adopted the gospel attitude … It’s not about me.
I find myself wondering if that is why God allowed Joseph to spend so much time in prison. It’s almost like he stayed there until he checked his attitude. He got out for a few years and things were really looking up when back to prison he was sent. Could it have had anything to do with the attitude of his heart? ‘Cause sure enough… when he gets out the second time, that’s when his bothers would show up. Those same bothers that not only sold him but the same ones God had said would populate His own family…the Hebrew children. The same ones God had promised Abraham would eventually outnumber the stars.
Had Joseph continued to hold onto his rotten attitude, his justified offense, he never would have extended grace to his brothers when they came looking for food to sustain their family during the greatest famine in history.
I can’t help but ask myself:
- What am I holding onto that could be holding me back from the Palace?
- Am I learning the things I will need on my journey from the Pit to the Palace?
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (James 1:4).
Read along with us for the next few weeks as we explore the gift in God’s Timing.
Can you remember a time when a trial ended up being a blessing in disguise? Share your story with Breath on Paper and encourage others who may be facing a trial of their own.
Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is ten years new to Birmingham, Alabama. Her sweet husband of 38 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.