“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”
Psalm 27:14 ESV
“The problem with waiting is that when we wait, we think that nothing is happening. The truth is that if we are waiting on God, all kinds of things are happening.”
– Steve Farrar
I can almost hear someone saying, “But I didn’t do anything wrong to warrant the situation I’m in.” Please understand that your current circumstance could be because of what you’ve done right! You desire to know God on a deeper level. You’ve prayed for Him to increase your effectiveness. Maybe He’s answering your request. Read what Psalm 105 says about Joseph’s life: “He [God] called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true” (Psalm 105:16-19 NIV).
There are seasons in our lives when God allows famine to touch us. It could be physical or spiritual—a season when we seem to be starving for more of God. God used the famine in Egypt to further His purposes. He stirs up a hunger to know Him more by allowing us to experience spiritual famines for a season.
God had given Joseph a dream that he was destined for greatness, that he would be a ruler, even over his brothers. In youthful excitement he shared this with his brothers. They were less than thrilled and you know what happened. They sold Joseph as a slave and told his father that he’d been killed (Genesis 37).
But in his heart, Joseph held on to the dream God had given him, and his faith was tried, “till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.” Joseph’s faith was tried with ten to fifteen years of waiting and delays, of mistreatment and imprisonment even though he was innocent. During those years in prison I’m sure Joseph entertained thoughts like, I wonder if I missed God. Maybe those dreams were just my own imagination. I must have been delusional to think that God was really speaking to me.
“When we feel alone, wondering where God could possibly be, we can know that he’s as close as our breath, he loves us dearly, and he has our best interests at heart. Often, he doesn’t rescue us out of our predicaments. Instead, his purpose is very different. He’s not committed to our comfort, but to deepening our trust in him. His training always includes times of light and times of darkness.”
The whole time Joseph was in prison, God was working. He was working out the details and He was working on Joseph. By the time of Joseph’s release for prison, he was a completely different man. No longer was he the impulsive guy who needed to divulge all he was envisioning and perceiving. God had used this time of waiting to cultivate in Joseph a quiet confidence that prepared him to rule over Egypt and his brothers with humility and grace. This is what God desires to cultivate in us also. “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
The fruit of righteousness comes from abiding in the Vine—Jesus Christ (John 15). Dwelling in His presence, walking in the Spirit, obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit, staying mindful that He is working all things for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Settling in with a resolve that your faith and hope are in Christ as He builds His character deep down inside of you. Sinking deeper in love with Him as you see Him come through for you time and time again. Resting in the knowledge that His word is truth. That although I can’t see Him, He can see me. He knows the way I take (Job 23:8-10). Trusting Him to bring about His will and purpose in our life as we abide in Him.
 Steve Farrar, Getting’ There (Sisters, Or: Multnomah, 2001), 90.
 Tim Clinton, Break Through, When to Give In, How to Push Back (Brentwood, TN: Worthy, 2012), 273
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who is married to Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.