I wonder if and when I will ever get a job which is fulfilling. I wonder how I’ll make ends meet. I wonder at unanswered prayer, brokenness, and why God allows evil men to have success and good people to suffer. I also wonder why God invented roaches and Brussels sprouts, (they’re in the same category if you ask me).
I wonder if folks in the Bible ever wondered. You have to figure they did. Joseph shared his dreams with his family, thinking he was going to be somebody special, but instead got thrown in a well and sold into slavery. Did he, while traveling away from his family in the slave caravan start thinking, “Well that didn’t work out like I thought”?
Afterwards he goes to work for Potiphar and things are going well. God is obviously with him, blessing his work, and giving him a sense of hope, fulfillment, and accomplishment. I wonder if he was thinking, “Well this isn’t so bad. I mean, I am separated from my family and my brothers gave me up for dead, but at least I have a good thing going here.” Then Potiphar’s wife sees Joseph and his six pack abs, (hey, you never know), and files a sexual harassment case against him. Joseph gets thrown into prison. I wonder if he was thinking, “Why didn’t I just sleep with her and protect my job? Then things would have been okay.” I wonder if he ever doubted God and his plan or if he thought God might have forsaken him.
What about Moses? He was raised in the house of Pharaoh, (and who doesn’t love free rides on the Nile?). Moses was educated, established, and in a position of power. He figured God was going to use him to help save the Jewish people, (Acts 7:25). Instead he gets a criminal record, is shunned by his people, and has to live on the backside of the desert for 40 years. I wonder if he felt like God had forsaken him. I wonder if or how he trusted God for 40 years in the middle of nowhere?
Then there’s David. Samuel the prophet shows up and says God has chosen him to be king of Israel. Then David kills a giant. Woo-Hoo! Resume enhancer! Everything is looking good, right? Then Saul goes crazy and tries to kill David about 9 times. (I wonder why David hung around after the first time.) David has to hide in the wilderness with all the riff-raff while Saul chases him. Did David doubt God’s promise that he would be king? Did he ever question God’s goodness? Did he struggle to keep going day after day while being pursued by a nut job like Saul? (Hint: yes, just read the Psalms).
Guys and gals throughout the Scripture had to wonder at God and his purposes. They asked the same questions I do, like: When God? Why God? What are you doing, God? Heck, even Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). It helps me to know my biblical heroes wondered and doubted. It’s encouraging to know they got discouraged. I suppose what’s even better is God ultimately didn’t leave these men in their wondering. Eventually, Joseph became second in command to Pharaoh and saved his family. David eventually became the greatest king of all time. And finally, after 40 years, God used Moses to save the Jewish nation and drop the hammer on the Egyptians. (Dear God, please don’t wait until I’m 70 years old to get started in my life. Amen).
I think it was Charles Swindoll who said “God invented time. Men invented watches.” (Google couldn’t verify the quote). Each of the men above bear witness to the truth of that quote. In the meantime you and I are left to wonder while we wander through life, (did you see what I did there?). It’s not a whole lot of fun, is it? So what do while we wonder?
We can’t necessarily trust God’s going to make everything go our way how we want and when we want, (see also Joseph, Moses, and David). But we can trust same God who sovereignly and wisely directed the lives of those men will also sovereignly and lovingly direct our lives for his purposes, our good, and his glory. It certainly isn’t always easy, but we’re on God’s timetable, not ours. The best thing we can do is tie a knot in the rope of our faith and hang on. In the end we have to believe it’s going to be wonder-ful.