“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
With snow and ice covering the ground, it’s hard to imagine that anything can be happening in the garden plot behind the building at 5400 W. Canal Drive. The soil is frozen, not even visible, much less able to produce a green sprout from a seed. Winter time seems useless where gardens are concerned.
Many of us begin a Bible reading plan at the first of the year, in the starkest point of winter, and the stories of so many people from those early books in the Old Testament remind us of the long, cold, dark periods of life where the days and years seem to pass without any evidence of God’s life-giving work. Abraham, Moses, Joseph and others experienced years — decades — where they waited for God to keep His promises. They waited. And waited. And waited. Don’t you know Joseph more than once must have looked around his Egyptian dungeon and wondered if he would ever experience life and joy and the sunshine again? Surely at least once he wondered how things could have ended up this way and whether God really knew what He was doing after all.
The end of Joseph’s story tells the conclusions he drew from the evidence around him when all was said and done: God was in control all along and He was working out a plan to bring life to many people. God never stopped being in control, never stopped working in His creation, even in the deepest winter of Joseph’s life.
Even now in our garden, God is in control and He is at work. The ground rests and waits and produces no growth for the time being, but it is for a purpose. The compost pile appears to be a mess of limbs and leaves and coffee grounds and eggshells, but eventually it will become good black dirt, ready to give nutrients to the seeds we plant. God is in control of this whole process, and He will bring about life through this cold waiting season.