Darkness Before the Dawn

Genesis 40:20-41:1

The process of discovering, processing, purifying, and shaping gold is a lengthy, painstaking process. Affliction is gold in the making for the child of God, and God is the one who determines how long the process takes. He alone is the Refiner.

This is where Joseph was when we left him. He is still in process. His gold is still being refined. His heart is still being broken by affliction and abandonment.

Those two full years for Joseph were neither exciting nor eventful. They represented a long, dull, monotonous, unspectacular, slow-moving grind. Month after month after month of . . . well, nothing. Not even the Genesis account attempts to make those years seem meaningful. Because they weren’t.

That’s what it’s like when you’re in a period of waiting. Nothing’s happening! Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

On the other hand, it only seems like nothing is happening. In reality, a whole lot is happening. Events are occurring apart from our involvement. Furthermore, we are being strengthened. We are being established. We are being perfected. We are being refined into pure gold.

We’re back to my earlier comment—Joseph is being shaped for greatness. All whom God uses greatly are first hidden in the secret of His presence, away from the pride of man. It is there our vision clears. It is there the silt drops from the current of our life and our faith begins to grasp His arm. Abraham waited for the birth of Isaac. Moses didn’t lead the Exodus until he was eighty. Elijah waited beside the brook. Noah waited 120 years for rain. Paul was hidden away for three years in Arabia. The list doesn’t end. God is working while His people are waiting, waiting, waiting. Joseph is being shaped for a significant future.

That’s what’s happening. For the present time, nothing. For the future, everything!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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