Sometimes Saturday feels really long and I begin to feel that laundry is the never ending story.
A young man from Canaan once felt the same way. The Saturday of his life lasted 13 years before the Sunday of celebration. He had dreams of wearing royal robes and of being a great leader over his people. But before his dreams were reached, he had to slop around in some undesirable clothing too.
He started out in a beautiful embroidered robe, made especially for him by his father, Jacob, to show special love and attention. His jealous brothers ripped it off Joseph, threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave.
Joseph exchanged his beautiful robe for rags of slavery. He served Potiphar, captain of the guard in Egypt. During that time his rags fit him well. They taught him to serve others, work hard, to be honest and trustworthy. He grew from a 17 year old who was used to his father’s lavish care to a young man who depended on his Father in Heaven to watch over him in a strange land.
He was promoted from the rags of slavery to the garment of leadership in Potiphar’s household. He enjoyed wearing this new robe, giving orders to the other servants and being in charge of all Potiphar’s crops. But it didn’t last long. God had another robe in mind for Joseph
That was the day that Potiphar’s wife set up Joseph. When he was all alone in the house doing his work, she tugged on his cloak and invited him to lay with her. Joseph ran right out of his robe as he fled temptation. Potiphar’s wife used the robe in her hand as evidence against Joseph and her husband sent him to jail.
This wasn’t the promotion Joseph was hoping for. Once again he wore the lowly rags of a prisoner. Here he spent the darkest, most despondent years of his life. It was there in the darkness that he sharpened his eyesight to see God. It was there on his knees that he laid down his own dreams and began giving life to the dreams of others. When Pharoah threw his chief wine-taster and chief baker into the dungeon, Joseph cared for them. He prayed for them and God gave him the meaning to their dreams. Two more years passed while God continued preparing Joseph for robes of royalty.
Finally the day came when Pharoah called Joseph up from the dungeon. When Pharoah asked Joseph to interpret his dreams, he said, “I cannot. But God can”.
At last, Joseph had grown out of his childish robes of pride into a royal robe of humility. Pharoah placed a fine linen robe on his shoulders and paraded him through the streets, saying to all the people of Egypt, “Bow down, bow down!”
Thirteen years – that’s how long Joseph wore servile clothing, while waiting to be clothed as royalty.
Sometimes we, too, wear a robe of darkness and despair. We can’t see God. But God may be using that time to sharpen our vision of Him, to grow us from pride to humility, from trust in ourselves to dependence upon God alone.
C.S. Lewis in his poem, “As the Ruin Falls” says this:
“... And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile and grow man.”
God takes all the experiences of our lives and uses them to grow us from exile to maturity.
C.S. Lewis continues:
“The pains You give me are more precious than all other gains.”
Whatever pains we are going through on Saturday will prepare us for the robes of Sunday. Whatever our dream gown is, it will not fit until we allow God to grow us.
Like Christian in “Pilgrim’s Progress”, we won’t stay in the dark Dungeon of Despair. Through prayer, God will release us with the key of promise, as Christian discovered.
It may take 13 years as in Joseph’s case or it may be sooner, but persevere! God is growing you while you are on your knees scrubbing at your dreams. He’s preparing a beautiful gown for the Sunday of celebration!
Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the Lord; for my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (NIV).
~ Pam Mytroen