As a planner, I’m not one that does well with inefficiencies. I like to “have a plan and then work the plan” knowing that not only am I maximizing my effort, but the time that I spend towards a particular goal. Life, however, doesn’t always conform to my plan. Sometimes, I may not know exactly what God is leading me towards. Or He may have made it clear what lies in my future, but hasn’t yet provided the means or the opportunity to get there. It can feel like time is wasting away.
However, I’ve learned that waiting time is not wasted time in God’s economy. It may seem like I’m wandering in a desert, but He’s using the time in the wilderness just as much as He’s using the time in the promise land. It’s not just the destination that He’s interested in, but the path that He has me on to get there.
Perhaps there’s no greater example of this in the Bible then Joseph. Here was a man whose time was “wasted” as an errand boy for his unworthy brothers, as a slave to an Egyptian master with an unjust wife, and again as a wrongfully-accused prisoner. Yet through all of this God was providing him with the understanding of Himself, the wisdom to interpret dreams, the work ethic to manage resources wisely, and other qualities that were needed for him to save not only the Egyptians from the coming famine, but his own family as well. What Joseph could have easily seen as wasted time, God used for His own glory, and for Joseph’s benefit.
It’s something that’s been true in my own life, and in the lives of loved ones as well. I remember my dad telling me how looking back he could see that the series of job losses and odd jobs he endured were all used to prepare him for the job that he eventually had where God used him to help protect soldiers and nations. His unique set of skills that were developed along the way couldn’t have been taught in a classroom or acquired in one single position; he had to go through the time of transition in order to be successful where God would eventually plant him. God used the waiting time to not only prepare him, but to bring him to his future.
It’s easy to get discourage while we wait. But it helps to know that for God the waiting time is not wasted time. He will use it. For His glory, and for our benefit.