We’d booked the holiday cottage for a week, and were looking forward to spending some time with some friends of ours, who, like us had their first child just a tiny toddler. Our little one got an infection a couple of days before the start of the holiday, but we got some antibiotics for her, and went just a day late. The weather was glorious, and on our first full day there, we all set off for the beach. By and by, it was time to pack up and return back to the cottage for tea. Being a scorching day, and long before air con in cars, we rushed to wind down the windows, and set off as quickly as possible to cool the car down. So quickly, that we left a bag sitting on the tarmac. The one that contained the antibiotic medicine.
We called the local police stations both near the beach, and the cottage, but it had not been handed in. What a palava! We had to manage without the meds for that night and find a doctor the next morning, to get more medicine, which lost us another morning of our precious holiday. The bag turned up at another police station many miles away, several months later, somewhat after the event. Rushing off like that certainly cost us!
But not half as much as rushing off cost Joseph’s brothers, when they made their way off home, having got out of the city with their grain, and all of them intact (Genesis 44:1-9). There’s no doubt that Joseph had more than his fair share of brains in that family! Last time they’d arrived home with their grain sacks full, only to discover to their horror that their silver was still inside. With all the odd things that had taken place over that second trip, wouldn’t you think they’d have had a little check before setting off! But it was early morning, and they’d feasted and drunk the night before, they probably were not at their brightest, and their first thought was to get going while the going was good.
But the going was not good, and that little mistake put them through some more of Joseph’s hoops, and a whole lot more angst. And it occurred to me, that sometimes, when things are going less than smoothly, maybe God is trying to speak to us. We go rushing off trying to solve our problems, when the wise thing is to sit and listen, and discover what he is telling us. It may be that he is testing us, or it maybe that he is putting his finger on something in our life. When you are really busy and really under pressure, you may save yourself a whole lot of effort for just sitting and listening a while, and not rushing off.