God’s Meaning in Life’s Meanwhiles

By Pamela Bunn – BSF Board Member

Recently, a dear friend sat in an emergency room while doctors treated her husband, who had experienced multiple seizures earlier in the day. 

As the minutes and silence stretched on, my friend decided to contact the chaplain at her child’s school about a concern that was unrelated to the current crisis. 

For the first time in days, my friend, a busy physician and mother of four, was given the unscheduled time to sit, linger and have a much-needed conversation regarding one of her children. As God cared for my friend’s husband nearby and met the needs of her son many miles away, He comforted my friend with His presence as she waited.  

God was active all around in the meanwhile.

In the midst of emergencies, challenging work, difficult relationships, significant change, or the uncertainties of a pandemic, we naturally become absorbed in our current situation. We ask, “What should Ibe doing? What do I need? Where should I focus?” 

And while we concentrate on the immediate task that demands our attention and energy, we often fail to see what God is doing in the meanwhile. When we pause, step back, and consider our broad, high, transcendent God, we get a glimpse of His bigger picture and marvel at it. Our Omniscient God has His hands in every event and works in all of our meanwhiles. He is never overwhelmed. He sovereignly orchestrates all things for His good purposes, whether or not we ever see or understand them. When we look to the sky and see the thick of clouds, we know that behind them His light still burns intentionally and bright. 

Meanwhiles in Scripture

From Genesis to Revelation, God’s Word is full of His work in the meanwhiles. 

In Genesis 29, Jacob worked to win his wife, Rachel. During the next 20 years, he navigated his father-in-law’s deceptions, raised a family, built a thriving livestock herd and planned to return home. Meanwhile, unseen by Jacob, God was using these years to untangle Jacob’s past problems in Canaan. 

In Genesis 32, as he prepared to meet his brother, Jacob anticipated an attack from Esau’s men. During a sleepless night, he was consumed by “great fear and distress.” Meanwhile, God had gone before Jacob to soften Esau’s heart.

In Genesis 50, Joseph summarized his grasp of God’s work in his meanwhiles when he told his brothers, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Throughout Scripture, God gives us glimpses of His sovereignty that encourage us to trust Him more deeply.

In Egypt, the Israelites groaned in slavery. Meanwhile, in Egypt as well as the desert, God was preparing Moses to deliver them from their captivity.

When Israel demanded a king, God gave them Saul. Meanwhile, He prepared David in the sheep fields to be a man after His heart and later take over the shepherding of His people.

And toward the end of the Old Testament, God seemed silent, sending no new prophets for 400 years. Meanwhile, He was preparing the world for the Messiah, His beloved Son who would die to redeem His people.

The Lessons We Learn

God works in ways visible and invisible. He is ever present and never confused. He handles every situation coincidentally, the known and the meanwhiles, neglecting none, and perfectly bringing about all He ordains. As with the Israelites of the Old Testament or the believers of the New Testament, God is accomplishing many things: 

He expands our understanding of His ways – they are vast, eternal and always good. 

He increases our appreciation of His power – it is limitless, ordered and never arbitrary. 

He enriches our worship of His greatness – His thoughts are beyond our thoughts, and His love has no bounds. 

Our Personal Meanwhiles

The same God who upholds the stars is working beyond what we see. He is the author of our meanwhiles. As He places kings, prime ministers, and presidents in authority, He also strategically places each of us where we are. 

When we feel thrown off balance, stretched by demands on our time and efforts, we can remember the meanwhiles of Genesis through Jacob and Joseph. 

We can ask, “How might God be working in my meanwhile? Is He refining a skill? Testing my faith? Adjusting my attitude or reordering my affections? Developing steadfastness and maturity? Meanwhile, what is He revealing about Himself?” 

Though we cannot understand all of God’s plans, we can trust that His work stretches beyond what we see. As we prepare our hearts and minds for Matthew, let’s take some time to reflect on God’s work during the past year. We can rest assured there is meaning in every meanwhile to come. 

Pamela Bunn

BSF Board Member

Pamela Bunn grew up in St. Louis, Mo., graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English, and started BSF as a near newlywed in 1982 in St. Petersburg, Fla. After moving to her husband’s hometown Raleigh, NC in 1986, she served as a GL, an STL, a TL and an Area Advisor for eastern North Carolina and South Carolina, until 2013 when she joined the BSF Board of Directors. She served on the St. David’s School Board of Trustees in Raleigh for twenty years, and has been a Director for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co in St. Louis since 2010, where she works part time as a special advisor to the executive division. Pamela writes a daily devotional blog, astherainandsnow.com (inspired by Isaiah 55:10-11), delighting to combine her love for words, God’s Word and her photography of God’s creation. She and her husband, Lee, live in Naples, Fla., and are active in teaching, discipleship and shepherding ministries, especially with young couples. They have three adult children, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.

 

103 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for your inspiring reminder of GOD’s OMNIPOTENCE in the meanwhiles of life! As each day begins with new challenges and new trials, you showed how HE IS ALWAYS AT WORK for HIS PERFECT PLANS. Genesis is extremely full of examples of GOD WORKING ALL THINGS FOR GOOD to those who are called according to HIS PURPOSES.
    You have sparked a renewed confidence and assurance to keep doing the next right thing. Showers of blessings to you and your family, Pamela!

  2. He enriches our worship of His greatness – His thoughts are beyond our thoughts, and His love has no bounds.  Wow,amazing thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a timely message of our ‘meanwhiles’!! 2020 and going forward could not have demonstrated that better! In all that chaos, God turned up in places we could not and still cannot imagine. Giving many a ‘peace that surpassed all understanding’. What a MIGHTY, powerful God we serve!

  4. Timely message to contemplate the meanwhiles of my own life.

  5. I have really enjoyed your write up. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy to have as one of the board members.

    After going through the Genesis, I can confidently say that God is in control over every hopeless and helpless situation. God is interested in every minute detail of my life. Isaiah 43:1-2 encourages me a lot. God richly bless you.

  6. This was an Amazing encouragement!

  7. Beautifully written. Moved me to tears as I woke up with an anxiety attack this am. Read your words while praying to God for intervention, calm and direction.
    Blog took me in a spiritual direction I had never considered as I am guilty of trying to stay in the moment while not being considerate of the meanwhile that He manages around and about me and the world at large.
    Grateful for your insightful words of encouragement and
    reflection.

  8. Pamela, thank you, for the reminder! Today I’m encouraged and hopeful.

  9. Thank you. This has encouraged me that God is always at work in each of our lives.

  10. The Bible were written by inspired Men of God and BSF’s Board Members were all touched by the Almighty when they put pen on paper to write for us at the bottom to learn.
    Thank you Pamela Bunn and God richly bless you, Amen in Jesus name.

    • I feel strengthen by studying His word.
      I am guided by God in my daily life.
      It’s important to receive and share my life with Christian friends.
      Thank you. God Bless

  11. Thank you for this enlightening message – in my impatience I will always try to remember this “meanwhiles” and hope that that impatience will fade from my ‘psyche’ altogether!!

  12. I want to be intentional in noticing God at work in my meanwhiles. I also want to be obedient to what He is asking me to do in the meanwhiles. Thank you for challenging me to consider the significance of the meanwhiles.

  13. Thank you Pam for the encouragement! And meanwhile in Australia the Lord is continually working through BSF…..Praise Him!

  14. I needed this-I loved studying Genesis.
    Looking forward to “Matthew “
    Thank you 🙏🏻

  15. Really enjoyed thanks , I needed that encouragement.

  16. It makes more sense to me now when it feels like God is silent, I know that’s not a silent, something is about to happen as Good is working.

  17. I was truly blessed from reading this blog. It’s prayer that you will continue to share. May the blessings of the Lord rest upon you and your family.

  18. So refreshing and encouraging as I think about God’s care and steadfastness in my own meanwhile. Thank you for the encouragement.

  19. I find this to be most rewarding. I know that we serve God in Spirit, however we feel his presence in all we do. I have learned to praise God for ALL things. I know that He is walking with and working in my life. All praises to our GOD!!!

  20. Thank you! Such a healthy perspective, knowing that God is always at work. Our peace comes in trusting in Him.

  21. Pamela, when I am in the midst of retirement in San Antonio, God is preparing a place and plans for us in San Antonio in the meanwhile. Thank you for that reminder. You are a great encouragement to me once again!

  22. Three weeks ago I and my daughter Monica got involved in a motor accident. We were knocked by a trailer which had list control. Our van overturned four times. We came out with head injuries. For me it was open but for my lovely daughter it was closed and went unconscious for 4 days. Brain surgery was finaly done on her. She is improving now as for me am still nursing a chest pain. God’s hand did not leave us. Haleluya.

  23. Very encouraging and insightful. I imagine the majority of God’s work in our lives takes place in OUR meanwhiles, and HIS perfect timing. Thank you, Pamela, for your love and teaching of God’s word.

  24. Great word for my “such a time as this”. I will rest and wait in the meanwhile.

  25. Thank you, Pamela! A timely reminder that God is in control over everything and everyone. We may not be pleased with what is going on around and within us, but I love that He is working there and even in our (my) meanwhile. He considers all that happens since He is sovereign! Again, thank you.

  26. So glad we have board members that are strong in the word.As I read your blog I pictured what we had learned this pass year and will be able to apply this daily. God bless you

  27. Pamela…it was so nice to once again hear your wise words of wisdom that God shared with you. Your leadership in BSF started me on the right track when I was a young immature Christian and your faith and love helped me persevere. 22 years later I’m in Charlotte, still in BSF and so very thankful for what you taught me in those early years through BSF…it changed my life and has given me God’s peace, comfort, wisdom, guidance and strength. Thank you so much.

  28. Such great encouragement, Pamela! Thank you.

  29. Thank you Pamela for your devotion and walk with God. Your words are exacting, true and timely as God’s word always connects our immediate concerns as well as our meanwhiles to Him if we take time to be with Him. Keep up the good work and I pray God blesses your ministry and family.

  30. Thank you so much. There are many Meanwhiles in my life and i wil now face them with a new perspective.

  31. Beautifully written! Thank you. Thru our country’s perfect storm of Covid, racial unrest, and politics we must believe in God’s meanwhiles, no doubt. What a superb message!

  32. Thank you for this summarise God is preparing the good for us, he is faithful to his word but we are not faithful to his promises. we are not constantly to trust in Him.

  33. A very refreshing insight into the sovereign masterpiece of God’s plan for His children. No one can do this except the Mighty God. Praise be to His Glorious name.

  34. Thank you Pamela for the encouraging word. I have a new insight on the God of the meanwhile.

  35. Thanks for this encouragement to remind us that He is God of meanwhile. May He continues to prepare each one of us to be a woman after God’s heart. Teach us Lord to see the big picture and not to concentrate on the immediate task. You are Sovereign and always at work for the good purpose. Praise be to you God and many thanks Pamela!

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