Best-selling author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats Carol McLeod is set to release her 15th book Meanwhile: Meeting God in the Wait on July 26, 2022. The book examines the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis, and shares how his journey parallels our modern lives today. Like Joseph, we often find ourselves in the "meanwhile". The choices of others created Joseph's hardships, yet he rested in God's promises and stayed focused on his purpose and calling.
Q: Carol, thank you for doing this interview with us. Your new book touches a nerve in all of us. Many of us hate to wait. Why do you think God gives us those times where we have to wait for him?
I believe that God might look at waiting entirely differently than we do. When we, as human beings, realize that we are going to spend some time in the "waiting room" of life, we become frustrated, impatient and sometimes even angry. We might wonder if God has forgotten us or if He has heard our desperate prayers.
God, however, views waiting from an eternal and sacred perspective. He knows that when we wait, we are strengthened. He has a plan that isn't constrained by time but is designed to fan the flames of our faith. A time of waiting is certainly a time of testing and God wants us to pass His test!
Q: In your new book, you examine the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Tell us some of the moments in Joseph's life when he had to wait?
Joseph waited for his brothers to take him out of the pit and then he had to wait to see what direction the caravan was headed! Joseph was forced to wait during the years that he spent as a slave in Potiphar's home and then during the time that he was imprisoned unfairly. Even though he was set free from prison, and it might have seemed that his life was back on track when he was second in command in Egypt, he was still waiting for family reconciliation.
Joseph spent the majority of his adult years in the waiting room of life. However, he stayed true to his God and to his faith. He remained a man of excellence whether he was the well-loved son of his father, a slave to Potiphar, a prisoner or as the number two man in all of Egypt.
Q: Many of our readers are in this "waiting" period of their lives. How do we look to God during these times?
If you are waiting, you are in good company with people such as Joseph, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Esther, Elizabeth and Zacharias and even Paul. Each one of these well-loved and much-admired Biblical characters was well-acquainted with that time period in life known as the waiting room.
Noah obeyed God while he waited and Moses listened to God's voice. Abraham maintained his close friendship with God while Hannah worshipped the Lord as she waited for a baby. Esther fasted in her wait; Elizabeth and Zacharias continued to live righteous lives. Paul changed the world, wrote most of the New Testament and led countless numbers of people to the Lord while he waited for his healing.
We need to study the lives of these inimitable men and women who have gone before us and resolve to live just like they lived!
Q: How has studying the life of Joseph impacted you? What surprised you?
I am more convinced now, than ever before, that God really does care about my life and that he is working behind the scenes to cause all things to work together for good. Often, I find myself asking, "I wonder what Joseph would do if he were in this situation in life?" I long to live my life with the excellence and faithfulness that we see in the life of Joseph.
Joseph could have chosen bitterness, anger, and depression-he certainly had the right to exhibit some of those emotions. However, he chose not to do so. Even though his story was one of "from riches to rags," Joseph chose the healthiest alternative as he determined to represent the Lord with excellence and honor. Joseph resolved that no matter where he was-home being cared for by his doting daddy or in the servant's quarters at Potiphar's house-he would tap into the wisdom of God. He embraced gracious heart attitudes and served those around him.
Joseph learned a lesson that I often ignore - life is not about me. Imagine that! Life is not about my desire to be coddled and cared for. My life is about becoming a woman of excellence and exhibiting the character traits of honor, integrity, and wisdom. I was created in the image of God to demonstrate His character and then to enthusiastically serve others, no matter who the others might be. I must be gentle, truthful, and loving with obnoxious in-laws, a mean boss, and a neighbor who won't leave me alone. It's why I am here-to be a vibrant show and tell of "The Joseph Principle."
The aspect of the story of Joseph that surprised me the most was how Joseph responded when he was at last reunited with his brothers. Joseph wept so loudly that his wails could be heard up and down the palace hallways. When he told his brothers who he was, his next words were these, "Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come closer to me." (Genesis 45:4) Joseph invited his brothers who bullied him as a youth to draw closer to him. Joseph beckoned the siblings who beat him up and threw him in a pit to gather tightly around him.
I believe he was not only inviting a physical closeness in the moment, but an emotional nearness in the years to come. And then, this is what Joseph said as they gathered around him, "Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life." (Genesis 45:5)
Joseph, in that one sentence, removed years of blame and shame from their lives. His words were so generous and compassionate that regret and pain surely fled instantly from all ten broken hearts. Joseph was so convinced of the consuming, restorative, and powerful plan of God that he immediately informed his brothers he held absolutely nothing against them. There was not one shred of blame or unforgiveness in Joseph's tone. Joseph was wisely aware that the hand of providence was more significant and pervasive than any minor act of a mere human being. God's plans are bigger than our meanwhiles. God's will for our individual lives is greater than a moment of discomfort.
Again, I want to respond to those who have wronged me in the same manner that Joseph responded to his brothers.
Q: Share with us a moment in your life when you have waited. And what did you do during those times?
After having two wonderful little boys, I went through years of infertility. Initially, I was able to become pregnant, but the babies died inside my womb between 13 and 20 weeks in utero. Four of those five tiny lives I held in my hand. After losing 5 babies, I then was no longer able to conceive. This fierce and dark battle went on for nearly a decade.
My hormones were raging, my arms were empty, and my heart was broken. During these sad years, I developed an addiction. The addiction that I developed was not to alcohol, over the counter drugs or to food. The addiction that consumed me was reading the Word of God. I played legos with my little boys with the Bible opened between my legs; I did the dishes with the Bible opened on the counter. I folded laundry with my Bible opened on the dryer. I even laminated 3x5 cards on which I had written scriptures and took them in the shower with me!
The powerful and living Word of God delivered me from that dark place before my circumstances ever changed. Reading the Bible was a lifeline and an anchor. Truly, this scripture was proven in my life, "My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your Word." - Psalm 119:28
Q: Besides your new book, you have a new TV show. Tell us about that.
I have wanted to have a TV show for years and God has finally made a way! "The Joy Life" will be a 30-minute Bible teaching show. It will be filled with hope as we dig deeply into the sacred pages of scripture. "The Joy Life" will premiere in the fall of 2022.
Q: Where can our readers find out more information about your ministries and on your new book?
I'd love for your readers to visit my website which is carolmcleodministries.com. They can read a blog post, investigate my other books, listen to a podcast or leave a prayer request.
I am also on Facebook as Carol McLeod Bible Teacher and Author; on Instagram and Twitter you can find me at Carol McLeod.
My new book, "Meanwhile", is available on my website, Amazon, Christian Books, Iron Stream Media, and wherever fine books are sold.