Meanwhile. It’s a term that means there is more to the picture. It identifies that something else is going on that has yet to be revealed. That as one thing is being played out on the main stage, there is something else going on backstage.
Webster’s defines it as – “at the same time”
“Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold him (Joseph) in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.” Genesis 37:36
To get the weight of this word, “meanwhile” and the effect it has on this storyline, you have to look back at the preceding verses, that tell a story of loss and betrayal. Jacob loved Joseph, he was his fathers most treasured possession and in a moment, that treasured possession was taken from his life. The brothers worked up a clever scheme and told their father his beloved son was consumed by a wild beast. They brought the forged evidence and laid the blood-stained robe in the hands of Jacob. As he examined the article of clothing, he realized nothing would ever be the same again-Joseph was gone. He tore his clothes, to symbolize that his heart had been tore in half by the news. He refused to be comforted. All the well-intentioned pity from his children wasn’t enough to patch up his broken heart. He told them “ I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning…” in other words; this one was going with him to the grave.
Pain so sharp it cuts our souls like a razor blade, Disappointment so daunting that it darkens our outlook, Tears so numerous that they threaten to drown us, an unmet hunger so fierce that it consumes us. This kind of stuff is hard. The loss of someone dear, doors that are slammed shut in your face, the searing pain that the teardrops represent, the unseen brokenness of our very core. The vessels of brokenness take on many different forms but they all have the same effect. The plight of mourning takes on many different facades; it can be found in the doctor’s office, the kitchen table, the bank, the cemetery, the office, the phone, in the mailbox. Brokenness will inevitably find us all. But it is here, in our brokenness, that we are found.
Genesis 37:35 shows a broken man. The Patriarch had suffered tremendous loss that would hang like a dark cloud over the next several years of his aging life. If only he had known, If only he could have seen the story we get to see. If he only knew what the next verse said; Meanwhile…..
While Jacobs heart was hemorrhaging, God was backstage working to bring something substantial from the struggle. God was using the very thing that Jacob thought was the end of his life to actually save his life. The thing that he thought would kill him turned out to be his saving grace.
Genesis 50:20 “As you meant it for evil against me, God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”
In the background of our brokenness God is working, HE has something specific that HE is bringing about THROUGH this thing that has broken us down. The thing that you feel as though you cannot move on from, the circumstance that has thrown you so far down you don’t think you will ever rise again, God is using that very thing to bring about your destiny and His plan.
I sat in the car as we crossed the heartland of America, with kids chattering, the baby cooing, the music playing, and my mind went silent as this word (meanwhile) shouted out to my own broken places with this thought: What if the things we think we lost, turn out to be used for deliverance? Not just for us. No. God doesn’t limit our brokenness to only affecting us. He uses it for the deliverance of many. What if all the opportunities lost turned into a destiny fulfilled? And more than that, not only my destiny but the destiny of others? What if the things that crush us are the things that actually make us? what if the seemingly fatal blow actually forges a way to fulfillment?
Jacob couldn’t see what was happening, that his story and the story of his son was a far cry from over. But we can. We have that privilege through the Spirit to perceive that something bigger is happening. That in this tangles mess, God is bringing about results. Corrie Ten Boom used the back side of a quilting project to demonstrate this very thing. She showed the side with all the tangled thread that made no picture, but as she turned it over the tangled mess had made a picture of a beautiful crown. Through eyes of faith we can see that He takes our broken mess and makes it beautiful and most of all useful, that our brokenness is not limited. Maybe we can’t understand what He’s doing but we can understand the why…”for the deliverance of many.” And if that’s not good enough for us than we are not looking through eyes of faith. Jacob didn’t know why this had happened, but we do. Through the eyes of our hearts being enlightened by the Spirit, we know that this isn’t it. That a tombstone isn’t the end, that a pink slip is in fact an open door, that rejection can be acceptance, and brokenness can be turned into abundance, sickness can bring about our wholeness, that disappointments ready us for our destinies and financial ruin will teach us what fulfillment truly is. The “why” of our struggle is told to us right here in the story of Joseph. No, there is no details given for each individual case of brokenness, but here’s the thing…if we insist on God giving us the “details” or “explaining” to us why this has happened to us, then that’s NOT faith. Faith believes when no details are given. “To save the lives of many…” that’s our “why” to suffering. Deliverance rises out of the pit of despair. God is cleverly collecting the shattered pieces of your heart and is delicately putting them back together. The adhesive he uses is our faith. A heart that refuses to be healed, is one that lacks faith. Faith believes God is working, even when there is no evidence.
GOD IS WORKING.
Meanwhile we are still here; still battling the same financial struggles, still no baby…no husband, our arms are still empty and our hearts still broken from loss of someone dear, our marriages still a wreck, our child still wayward, still no answer to that prayer…the one that spills out of our hearts every minute of every day for years on end, we are still in the midst of pain but at the same time God is working…. it’s all coming together. What we thought would be the end of us turns out to be the place where God meets us and uses our pain as a platform for deliverance. It is where our wounds are healed by the wounds of Christ. His nail scared hand, the symbol of how God uses brokenness for the deliverance of many, pushes in close to our bleeding heart and by applying pressure the hemorrhage stops and our hearts are whole once again. You do not have to take your brokenness to the grave if you take it to the cross. Your brokenness was designed to work for you, not against you.
Your pain is never wasted. Your tears are like rain that pours down onto the crops, they are bringing about a harvest you didn’t see coming. Because meanwhile, as you were weeping, God was sowing the seed; the seed of deliverance.