“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
I confess. I am an incurable mailbox watcher. I have often made the 100-yard trek to the mailbox at my office more than once a day because I have anticipated the daily arrival too early the first time. When I arrive home in the evening, one of the first things I do is check the box where my wife sets that day’s mail. And e-mail has complicated my life even more. I check that box every morning when I get to the office, and check it several more times throughout the day. When it comes to mail, I want it. I want it often. And I want it now. Sound familiar?
It should. Impatience is one of the hallmarks of our frantically-paced culture. May I suggest that one of the reasons we are impatient is that we worry? Cares and concerns overwhelm our minds. We search for answers. And because the solutions to our dilemmas are so varied, we almost become frantic in our quest to come to a resolution. Frankly, we have allowed the worry and anxiety to erode our trust in God. Rather than contentedly entrusting the problems to Him, with good American ingenuity and self-reliance we enact our plan and thereby attempt to subvert the plan and intention of God for our lives. What’s the alternative? Throw your problems into the arms of the God who lovingly cares for you, and He will lift you up at the proper time (1 Pt. 5:6-7). In His time He will resolve it in His way.
Scripture recounts the story of a remarkable man who patiently waited for God. Remember Joseph? It could have seemed to him as if God didn’t. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he faithfully served God in Potiphar’s house. And what was his reward? Injustice and a trip to prison. But even there Joseph was faithful as he interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and baker. And as the cupbearer left prison to re-enter the service of the king, there were promises of kingly reward, only to be forgotten again. So for two more years Joseph remained in prison (Gen. 41:1). Yet he patiently waited for God. Why? Because his faith was in God, not Potiphar, not the cupbearer and not the king. Though men continually failed him, and though he did not understand all the “whys,” he patiently accepted God’s activity in His life (50:20). He was a man who was willing to tolerate insult and injury to fulfill the plan of God.
Joseph illustrates the principle that God does not promise His followers a trouble-free life, but He does assure His people that when they entrust their cares to Him, He will care for them. And because of His wisdom, the way He cares for them will be what is best for them, and because of His grace, His care will come at the right time and in the right way to be most beneficial.