God works long term for your good
Some of God's promises come true immediately. For others we have to wait, but they will come to pass in our lifetime. Other promises of God are made centuries ahead of their fulfillment, but they still can be trusted. As Joseph found out, the path towards the dream God has given us can sometimes look like we've lost our way. But God keeps God's promises.
Romans 8:28 is a verse worth memorizing, if you haven't already:
All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Joseph's story begins in Genesis 37. He has a dream where his stalk of grain stands upright and his brothers' stalks bow down to his.
His brothers don't like the dream and decide to kill him (verse 20) but they quickly revise their plan: they will sell him into slavery. In slavery in a strange land, Joseph's natural abilities help him quickly rise to a position of authority. Unfortunately, he is falsely accused and imprisoned. (Chapter 39) After time he sees a possible way out: He asks a fellow prisoner to put in a good word for him when the prisoner is restored to his position. But that request was forgotten for two years. Finally Joseph gets his day. (chapter 41) He interprets a dream of the Pharoah, the leader of the land, and is promoted from the jail to second-in-command, overnight. But waiting for that "overnight" experience took 13 years.
When have you waited through a long season where things weren't working out?
How did it feel?
What advice would you give someone in a situation like that?
The Pharoah's dream that Joseph interpreted involved 14 years: seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. As a result, Joseph waited at least 20 years before he saw his own dream (that he had when he was 17) come true.
Eventually Joseph told his brothers about the experience, "Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it for good." (50:20)
When things aren't working out in your life are you apt to complain? to become discouraged? to trust? to rejoice in all things? How do you react?
When you're in a time like the Roaring 20's, are you apt to save for the Depression of the 30's? Or does it catch you by surprise?
What do you like best about the story of Joseph?