It’s a dreary November day outside my office window. The dismal rain has washed away the thick, white frost that was left without a word on the morning’s grass.
I am painfully aware of what the thick, white frost has come to prophesy.
The trees are bereft of their autumn glory; only brown, crusty remnants of their brilliance remain scattered around my front sidewalk.
Where and when did those varicolored leaves disappear? When did nature and circumstances rob these favorite sons of their nobility and their dignity?
The rain has no fierce energy but it continues to boringly produce a relentless drizzle and to obscure the view that once was filled with the splendor of summer followed by the grandeur of autumn.
These are the days in between … in the meanwhile.
Summer has long passed … autumn has mysteriously and quietly faded … but winter has not yet arrived.
In between …
It seems like life is often filled with these interminable days of indefinable yet very real circumstances.
Where am I? Am I there yet?
The days of waiting are the days that fill one’s life either with hope or with despair … with anxiety or with anticipation … with joy or with discouragement.
We all wait for something, don’t we?
It seems that we are all betwixt and between two grand happenings. We are not where we used to be … but we haven’t arrived at the expected destination yet.
We all know that during the dreaded and empty durations of life that our hearts tend to become insultingly like those dry and crusty leaves that are brittle reminders of what used to be.
Joseph of the Old Testament knew something about the “meanwhiles” in life. His life was a series of unfortunate events that placed his youthful promise and his uncommon ability to dream in a seemingly endless paralysis of unfulfilled intention.
Joseph was a dreamer to his very core. As a mother, I think that Joseph must have been an imaginative and creative child. Perhaps, as a little boy, Joseph lived in a land of make-believe that drove his brothers and father to distraction!
Not only could Joseph play a convincing game of, “Let’s pretend!” but he was also daddy’s favorite.
Jacob loved Joseph more than all of his other sons and did not even make an attempt to conceal his bias. Jacob, also known as Israel, showered this favorite son with a gift that shouted of his preference for Joseph, the son of his old age.
Jacob gave to Joseph a coat of glory that was splashed with the brilliance of love and parental indulgence.
It was known as a coat of many colors and Joseph wore it with pride.
And then, as Joseph grew into a young man, his propensity for clever fantasy took a decided and divine turn.
Joseph began to dream dreams that were planted in his soul by God! Imagine that!
The little brother who had merely been a source of child-like frustration now became outlandish and perhaps even a tad self-centered in his prognostications.
The ten eldest sons hated Joseph with a passion and vehemence that resulted in violent and uncalled for behavior. And why did they hate him so?
They hated him because he was loved by his father.
They hated him because he knew how to dream.
They hated him because of how he was dressed.
Joseph’s ten older brothers wanted to silence his imaginations and selfish fantasy once and for all.
The band of brothers, who had morphed into a band of bullies, stripped Joseph of his multi-colored coat and threw him into a waterless pit.
The favorite son had been robbed of his nobility and of his dignity.
Joseph was in a pit being drenched by an eternal intermission.
There was no way out. The glory days were over … or were they?!
It was when Joseph’s brothers were determining what to do next with their despised thorn in the flesh that a caravan of Midianite traders passed by. They sold Joseph to these Midianite traders and into slavery solely because his dad loved him and because they hated him.
Joseph was sold into slavery because he knew how to dream grand dreams and because he had honed his ability to hear God’s voice.
Joseph was sold into slavery because his outer garment drove his brothers absolutely crazy with jealousy!
Joseph was on the road to a strange country with his purpose stripped away from him!
Joseph had no one to love him … no one to protect him … no one to coddle him.
I wonder if perhaps, Joseph felt like screaming. I know that I often feel like screaming when I am on the road to nowhere stripped bare of plans and purpose:
“God! Where are you?! Where are you in the meanwhiles of life? Do you know where I am, God? Do you even care where I am?!”
Joseph was about to grow up quickly and to become the man that God intended for him to be. Joseph’s leadership training had only just begun. God knew precisely where Joseph was and would not waste this meanwhile in Joseph’s life.
If I know God, He won’t waste your meanwhile, either.
“Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.” – Genesis 37:36
In between …
What is meant to happen during every unexpected meanwhile in life’s calendar?
During a meanwhile, we are meant to grow up, to mature and to become the man or the woman that God has intended for us to be.
During a meanwhile, we are in God’s college of leadership training.
A “meanwhile” isn’t such a “mean while” when you look at it that way!
Rather than being frustrated and impatiently pressing the “pause button” on purpose and productivity during a meanwhile season in your life, how about allowing your roots to nestle down deeply into the rich and damp soil of God’s plans and His heart for your life?
Perhaps your meanwhile was meant to prepare you for winter … that will soon become a vibrant and virile spring!
Perhaps your meanwhile isn’t about the outward climate conditions that you are forced to endure but it is about the inner work that God is doing in your heart.
Perhaps your meanwhile isn’t a surprise to the God Who made you and loves you with a fierce passion.
It’s in the meanwhile season in life that the purposes of God are refined in our hearts in a powerful way that easy living cannot and will not accomplish.
A meanwhile can and will prepare you for the next season in life and it just may propel you into your God-dreamed destiny!
Somehow … the view outside of my office no longer seems dreary or even boring.
Now I am able to see beyond the meanwhile … passed the intermission … and into the dreams of God for my life.