Back in the early 1990s, a friend of mine was in a gift shop buying a gift for someone and having it wrapped. My friend asked the store clerk how long it would take to wrap the gift because she had someplace else to be. The clerk replied, “It takes as long as it takes.”
My friend was initially a little upset by the clerk’s answer but now we get a good laugh out of it.
Sometimes I find myself asking God the same question. How long will it take for so and so to change? How long will it take for me to change? How long will it take for my circumstances to change?
When will my body be healed? When will Your promises come to pass? When will You come back to get Your people? How long will it take Lord?
Recently I was praying and I found myself asking God that “how long will it take” question. That’s when I remembered the answer the clerk gave my friend, “It takes as long as it takes.”
It’s as if God is saying to each of us, “I’m working in your situation in ways you can’t see. But trust me, I am working and these things take time.”
Sometimes the wait is longer than we expected but the best outcomes in the worst situations take time.
John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
As a young boy, Joseph had a dream that his dad and brothers would bow in reverence to him. This made his brothers hate him even more. They wanted to kill him but ended up selling him as a slave instead. They told their dad Joseph was dead.
Meanwhile, Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave in the house of an official. The official’s wife wanted to have an affair with Joseph but Joseph refused. To make a long story short, she accused Joseph of rape and he ended up in prison for a long time.
While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of a couple other prisoners. His interpretation of their dreams came to pass and one of the prisoners that were being release promised to put in a good word for Joseph but instead, he was forgotten.
Ok, at this point I’m sure Joseph had thought to himself many times, “How long Lord? How long will I have to be a slave? How long will I be in prison? How long before I get to see my dad again? When will my dream come to pass? How long does it take Lord?”
About 13 years after Joseph had been sold as a slave, he was finally remembered as the one who interprets dreams and was released from prison to interpret the Pharoah’s dream. After doing so, Joseph was made right-hand man to Pharoah and saved many lives from starvation.
Eventually, he was reunited with his father and brothers as they went to Egypt looking for food. Joseph’s dream had come to pass, his father and brothers bowed in reverence to him [Genesis 37-50].
There was a lot that God had to do to work things out in Joseph’s life for the best outcome; His purpose and His plan. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that Joseph and his family couldn’t see or understand.
Joseph had to go to Egypt to save many lives from starvation. Joseph’s family had to survive the famine to become the 12 tribes of Israel; the nation of Israel. Jesus had to be born from the tribe of Juda, one of Joseph’s brothers. Most importantly, Jesus had to be born to die for our sins.
Joseph finally understood what God was up to. He told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people’s lives [Genesis 50:20].
God is always working. He’s working things out for our good, the good of those around us, and for His glory.
God cares about every detail of our lives and He’s working each one of them out. Nothing happens by chance. It’s all part of His plan.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Joseph may not have understood God’s plan while God was working out all of the details but Joseph trusted God and never gave up hope and that’s what we have to do.
It takes as long as it takes!
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.
Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.