There is a ‘meanwhile’ happening

Imagine this scenario:

You open a door to a pitch black room. No lights, no windows. You step inside. What’s your posture like? You reach your hand forward, slowly moving it side to side, in preparation to feel for something you may run into. You might slide one foot ahead of the other to avoid tripping over something on the ground. You move through the room slowly, cautiously. You take your time to avoid all those unknowns ahead of you.

During the past twenty months, navigating my grief has been like stepping into that pitch black room. Except, instead of a slow, cautious posture, I step into that darkness with both arms flailing, hitting anything & everything that is close by. I just want to get out of the room as fast as I can. And I am so afraid of being caught off guard while in that room that I move through it with my arms frantically moving around, knocking down before I can get knocked down.

I’ve grieved and continue to feel moments of grief over the loss of children we loved deeply, I’ve grieved the infertility caused by a sickness and surgery that happened when I was ten years old. I’ve been grieved by a devastating event that had a ripple effect of consequences. I’ve been challenged to keep choosing to rebuild and to have new experiences rather than respond from the trauma I can still see so acutely. There’s been so many “why me” moments and emotional exhaustion that I’ve struggled to get through the day sane. In all reality, most days sanity wasn’t there at all, I was just trying to survive. I have struggled to accept that my life doesn’t look anything like I thought or hoped it would at 31, soon to be 32. Those darn expectations…premeditated resentments, right? Gosh, it’s taken me twenty months of grieving and many, many pity parties to finally reach a point of willingness to move forward.

In order to do something different, I made a few commitments. One was to engage in daily readings and pray that I actually follow through. And I’m so excited to be able to share a story I read that impacted me in a fresh way. Words that were there all along but just waiting for me to have a willing spirit to listen.

I hope you have one too.


Do you know of the account of Joseph in the bible? I’ll share some highlights. He was the son of Jacob, the one who was loved and favored over all of his other brothers and their dad wasn’t discreet about it. Joseph is the one who was given that colorful coat. He was the one who had dreams about his brothers serving him anddd that didn’t go over well. His brothers’ jealousy and anger drove them to creating a plan to kill Joseph. While they were making that plan, one of the brothers suggested selling him to slave traders instead of actually going through with murder. All in favor? Deal. And it was done. Then they took that colorful coat, put animal blood on it and took it to their father. “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” (Genesis 37:33)

I have read this account many times but it wasn’t until reading it a few weeks ago that I paid a little more attention to Jacob and this one word that shifted something in me. You can quickly pass over him and continue on to read about Joseph and how God protected him throughout his lifetime; during his time as the right-hand man of one of Pharoah’s officers, while being (wrongfully) imprisoned, when he was elevated to being in charge of all of Egypt and implementing a food-rationing system that saved the nation from starvation. At the end of this account, Joseph glorifies God in saying to his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, saving many lives.” A scripture that reminds us that God can turn the most painful life experiences for good. And I believe He still can. So it’s understandable how one could pass over Jacob all those chapters earlier but let’s go back to the moment where Joseph’s brothers show Jacob the blood-stained cloak…


“Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him.

Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” (Genesis 37:34-36)


It’s this torn-clothes, mourning, refusing-to-be-comforted, weeping kind of grief that really made me stop and re-read. I connected with it immediately. But it’s the next word that really took me back. I read it. And re-read it. And thanked God for it. And re-read it. It was a message I needed more than ever.

Meanwhile

We know what happens in the story. After Joseph gets sold to slave traders and those traders sell him to Potiphar, the captain of the guard. We know the in-between, that “the LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered” (Genesis 39:2). And we know the end of the story when Joseph says to his brothers, “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, saving many lives.”

We know but Jacob didn’t know.

Jacob didn’t know all those years that Joseph was actually alive.

He didn’t know that God was with Joseph, using him for a greater purpose, the saving of many lives, years and years later and all the moments between.

Jacob grieved and refused to be comforted all while a separate story was being written.

Meanwhile

I don’t know what you’re waiting for, what you’re hoping for, or what you may be grieving. But what I do know is that there IS a “meanwhile” happening. Right now. As you grieve, as you wait, your meanwhile is happening. God is working out the details of a story that will one day collide with the reality that you see. I just don’t know when you or when I will see its fruits.

But He did it for Jacob, He did it in the lives of so many who came after Jacob, and I believe He’ll do it for us.


“They told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.’ Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, ‘I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:26-28)


The next sweet piece to this story is found right before Jacob leaves his hometown to travel to Egypt to finally see this son he thought had been dead. The piece of him that died with Joseph that day…came to life again. He was able to hope again and before fear could tell Jacob that it was too good to be true, God spoke.


“And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, ‘Jacob! Jacob!’
‘Here I am,’ he replied.
‘I am God, the God of your father.’ he said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:2-4)


I don’t know how many years it was from the time Jacob was told Joseph was malled by an animal before he saw his son again face to face. After reading through, I’m estimating about 20 years. During that time, as lonely as Jacob’s grief was, God never stopped working. God never stopped being close to him. God never stopped weaving good together.

I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting or grieving. But what I know is that the same God that revived Jacob’s spirit can and will revive your’s. I don’t think we have to wait until we get what we want before we start being courageous and choose to hope again. We can read Jacob’s story, we can remember our own stories and remind ourselves of all the times God has shown up. We can remember how God used painful parts of our history for good, to help others, for the “saving of many lives.” Because that’s what our experiences can do. They can help others but only if we hand them over to God to use them as He will. And He will.

I don’t want my pain, or your pain, to be purposeless. So will you take that courageous step in the unknown? Will you open the door to that dark room, call on the Name of Jesus so He can light up the darkness? I hope you do, it’ll change everything.

The shift in my heart didn’t entirely happen because I read the word “Meanwhile” a few times. I believe it has come from consistent, daily reading and letting God’s Word be what it is: “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

So maybe…if you’re waiting or longing for a shift to happen, maybe you should start where I did. God’s Word. He’ll speak to you in it and revive your spirit while you wait.

My friend, don’t ever forget that your ‘meanwhile’ is happening as we speak. Your story isn’t over yet. Keep choosing Hope and wait for all the good He has for you. And I know He has it, I’ll be waiting with you.

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