Normally butterflies are hard to capture a good picture of, but this week I was able to get a close up shot of one fresh from the cocoon. He was chilling out, letting his wings dry, maybe taking a siesta after all the work it took to climb out of his long slumber.
He was easing into this new world, this new season. He’s no longer a worm confined to the ground; he has wings now and the freedom to move about as he pleases.
And that transformation happened behind the scenes.
He slept, and God did his crazy transforming work.
In a way, that’s what we find happening with Joseph’s story found in Genesis 35-50.
Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. He received special treatment and was given a pretty snazzy coat from his father, which understandably made his brothers jealous–jealous enough to figure out a way to get rid of him. So when Joseph came out to the fields one day to check on his brothers, they took him and threw him into a pit, then later sold him to some traders passing by.
Over the next several years, Joseph was in servitude in Egypt. He worked in Potipher’s household until Mrs. Potipher falsely accused him of trying to seduce her and had him thrown in prison. Then he spent the next several years working in that prison because he found favor with the guy in charge.
And through all of Joseph’s trials and unfair treatment, one idea is repeated over and over again: the Lord was with Joseph, and all that he did succeeded.
Sometimes we can look at our situations and wonder how in the world God will bring good out of this? How will His promises and plans come about here? But God is always working.
We may see horrible circumstances, but behind the scenes God’s bringing things together, touching hearts, lining up pieces, weaving threads.
Joseph didn’t see what was happening behind the scenes. He didn’t see how his leadership skills were growing. He didn’t see how God was healing his heart from the rejection of his brothers. He didn’t see the grief and regret his brothers dealt with daily because of their actions.
I’m sure there were many times he dealt with a lot of anger toward his brothers, hopelessness toward his situation, and perhaps there was a time or two he thought even God had abandoned him.
But He didn’t.
We have to stop looking at our circumstances and choose to trust the slow work of God.
Sometimes that means muscling through and making the most of the situation we’re in–bad or good.
Sometimes that means crying and little bit and shaking our fists before falling angrily into God’s lap because we don’t have the energy or the know-how to make things change.
God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
Even Joseph’s situation put him in a spot so that when Pharaoh had a nightmare, a baker from the prison remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. Joseph was brought in, and within the hour he was made second in command of Egypt. And because of that, he was able to save Egypt and his family from starvation.
What Joseph’s brother’s meant for harm, God used for good.
The Lord is always working, even in the hardest situations. He has not forgotten you. He hasn’t abandoned you. And in those moments when things are really hard, we just need to let ourselves be cocooned in His presence and rest in Him, while He does all His crazy work behind the scenes.
Sometimes we just need to let go and let God.
Take hope, dear heart. God will work this out for your good. Trust His slow work. Trust His promises. Trust Him.
Related: Just Enough for this Season