I remember having one of those silly thoughts that comes from a child’s imagination on a trip to Puerto Rico. It was our first trip to the island. I was traveling with my younger brother and Mami (Papi stayed home). The long flight gave me time to ponder those things that young children ponder. I wondered if things stopped at home while we were away. Another of those thoughts only active imaginations can conjure up. The concept of simultaneous activity had not solidified in my mind yet.
As an adult, I know all too well that things are always happening whether I’m present in them or not. Sometimes I wish we could stop time long enough to catch up. This morning I opened my news website to find out Aretha Franklin died but off to the side of the screen I see headlines of wars to read up on and weather formations to be on the lookout for. The overwhelming number of situations that impact us directly or indirectly trigger anxious thoughts and hurried prayers that try to fit everyone in. After all, we want our prayers to cover everyone in need. Meanwhile, things are moving along.
These days the “meanwhiles” are much more palatable than they were to my child self. For the last few weeks God has been taking me to Joseph’s story in Genesis (beginning in chapter 34). I saw the musical production a few weeks ago and had an in-depth discussion a day or two later about the text. This past weekend I heard a message taken from the biblical story at a women’s conference. A brick doesn’t have to fall on my head to get my attention. I’ve read the text a few times now and noted that the word meanwhile is used a couple of times in Joseph’s story. The concept of simultaneous activity is an absolute truth and the story of Jacob’s young dreamer clearly shows the impact of what happens in the meanwhile of our lives. That time between our present reality and divine movement into our future reality.
Joseph was being sold to Potiphar, meanwhile his brothers were back home watching their father mourn the loss of his son. They went on with life waiting out their father’s pain. Things were occurring simultaneously. You see God doesn’t stop life at one end of the spectrum while he cares for the other. There is movement happening at all fronts while we work in this one. While we wait patiently for healing from devasting illness and/or restoration of broken relationships God is saving people from eternal damnation in other places. While we worry about how the sound carries through the airwaves of the stream, God is watching people immerse themselves in the waters for his name’s sake.
In chapter 10 of Matthew Jesus says that God watches out for the sparrows and in the meanwhile he counts the hairs on our head (well, maybe the wording is a little different, but the message is the same). Science has concluded that multi-tasking is a myth. That is, as much as we can move from one task to another quickly, our brain can only think about one thing at a time. Living in a world where there’s always a meanwhile we can easily forget that God’s meanwhile is working all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Even when we don’t feel it in the now. Because he is a God who sees all and cares for all, we need not worry that he’s too busy to save our brother or sister AND heal our bodies in the meanwhile. I remember early in my healing journey praying for my daughter’s healing and thinking that praying for mine might hinder hers. I know it’s ridiculous but so often our human minds cannot fathom the fullness of God.
While Joseph was enslaved and sold, God was working for his good. While he was in prison forgotten by the cupbearer, God was remembering the dreams he’d given him in his youth. While Joseph was being accused of wrongdoing God was formulating his release. And while Joseph was being harmed by his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and the cupbearer, God was working in the divine to realize the truth of the promises he had given the Dreamer (Gen. 50:20).
What if your meanwhile takes two years? Or more, like it did for Joseph? How many times have you told God that you’re tired? When was the last time you asked him to speed it up? I know I have. But I’ve learned to keep the promise in front of me so when the questions surface I answer them with the Word that God has already spoken.
Prayer: God of all glory! Help us to remember your promise even when the doubts seem to overshadow them. I pray that we may recall the work of the Cross where you conquered death; the death of dreams, hopes, and visions. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Daisy is the director of counseling at a private university. For many years Daisy has had a passion for the discipleship of women (learn more at ratedgdiscipleship.com). Daisy lives in Chicago with her husband Rico. They have two daughters, both of whom were married in 2017.