With anticipation of a lockdown lifting, we can almost taste the fresh air again. Dreams of roaming the streets and seeing life bustling again soon fade away with the news of an extended lockdown. This dream will have to wait for at least two more weeks. They’re calling it Lockdown 3.0. Although it’s creative to say 3.0, it still doesn’t change the fact that it means the dream of things returning to normal needs to be put on the sideline once again. It’s like we’ve been given a present, ready and bursting with excitement to open it, only to find out we have to wait two more weeks until we can see what is inside. Resilience is what comes to my mind in this situation. Things won’t ever go back to “normal”. There will only be a new normal for us to walk into, but the same God, in whom we find our patience and resilience. We need to strap back on our patience, our trust in the Lord and walk with the resilience God gives us.
It reminds me of the story of Joseph at the end of Genesis, I’ve been reading through the past few days. His life changed in one day, as he was thrown into a well, with no place to go. His fate seemed inevitable. Likely thinking he was going to die, his fate suddenly changed only to be sold by his own brothers to a group of foreigners passing by. Breathe, one step in front of the other Joseph, just take the next step. While living the life of a slave, God’s favor and resilience were still with Joseph. Whatever he did prospered. Obviously God’s hand was with him, and people around him knew this. I wonder if Joseph knew this. I wonder if he sunk deep into the foundational promises that God was truly with him and never going to leave him, no matter what the circumstances were around him, be it a shepherd, in a pit or a slave.
Just as he may have thought life was going great, one false accusation landed him in jail. Breathe, one step in front of the other Joseph, faithfully just take the next step. This is Joseph’s Lockdown 2.0. Yet, the Bible doesn’t say that he argued or complained. He clung onto the trust in God and must have been humbled. Maybe he didn’t like his situation, maybe he wanted to sit in the depths of frustration and revenge. But whatever his attitude was, he never rejected God. Instead once again, God’s mercy came rushing over Joseph as he found favor there among the guards. Life sure doesn’t always turn out how we expect it to right?!. After interpreting dreams for the chief baker and cupbearer, which both came true, I’m sure that Joseph had high hope of getting out of jail. The cupbearer did owe him a favor now!
Joseph was ready to open that present filled with light, fresh air, and new dreams, only to be put in Lockdown 3.0. The cupbearer forgot to tell the king about Joseph. Breathe, one step in front of the other Joseph, just take the next step. TWO YEARS LATER, the cupbearer finally remembered. THEN through the course of events of dream interpretation, Joseph rose to the second highest position in Egypt. Breathe in the fresh air, one step in front of the other Joseph, joyfully just take the next step. He goes on to basically save the entire land.
Wow. I wonder what Joseph would’ve thought in the well back in Canaan, if only he had known one day he would be second in command in Egypt. If only he had known his family would be reunited and restored. Would he suddenly be ready to go through the years of hardship, depths of loneliness, clinging to hope only to see it crushed again. But the fact remains God didn’t reveal the end plan to him. Instead he taught Joseph trust, faithfulness, resilience, the art of putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that he’ll come out better on the other side. Was it easy, I’m sure it wasn’t, but I’m sure Joseph trusted in the God that was walking with him.
And so we do too. In our present day Lockdown 3.0, friends breathe and just put one step faithfully in front of the other. Cling on to the promises of God, knowing that He is walking with us. Joseph’s life never got back to normal, and neither will ours. But God provided a different normal for Joseph, one full of His own purposes. And God is providing that for us as well. Our new normal is walking with God, one step at a time, faithful into the unknown.