Dreaming, it’s such a great gift in life. Even in the toughest situations, we have the ability to imagine a time when things will be different. We get to let our mind wander to places we hope for. But what happens when the journey to the dream isn’t very dreamy at all?
I think of the account we read in the Bible about Joseph. He was a young man, and God gave him a dream. He understood it only to a point, but the jest of it was that one day his brothers, mother, and father would bow down to him. It was an amazing dream to be at a place where even his family bowed down to him, for a young boy with mostly shepherding outlined for him in life.
So he did what any young man would do, he ran and told the ones he loved. “Look, brothers, this is what I dreamt.” Now if we may take a page from our own lives here and imagine a little. Even when we read this, we could begin to think of what it might look like for him to go from shepherded to royalty. Maybe a king passing him by on their way to their palace notices how amazing he is, how strong and handsome he is. Maybe they are so moved by his greatness they instate him as a prince and off to rule the kingdom he goes. He, however, didn’t probably imagine the next step in his journey from dream to fulfillment was outlined with ridicule by this own brothers, or that he’d be placed in a pit to die because of their jealousy. Maybe as he was hauled away as a slave, he envisioned the previous story just to put out of mind what his life is becoming.
How often do we start to dream? Even a dream straight from the Lord and then as we step onto the path that leads us there, it begins to feel anything like a dream. Definitely different then we’d imagined.
Now there is usually light of hope that flickers on the journey. Like when Joseph was made head slave over Potiphar’s house. I mean it’s closer to the dream than the bottom of that pit was. Maybe things are looking up. Maybe God was just using that to get me into the palace. Maybe he will still see greatness in me and instate me as prince yet. But wait what is this? Thrown in jail for doing the right thing, for refusing advances from Potiphar’s wife? Wait, hold on God. Don’t you know this is not how it’s supposed to go? Don’t you know that when I walk in what you have, when I do the right thing then…ding, all good stuff happens? Right? Uh? Lord, hello? Ever been on this part of the path to the dream? Maybe working long hours to develop your gifting, maybe going without recognition for the way you are helping people, or maybe receiving evil for the good?
Next, we see Joseph being made head prisoner over the jail he’d been thrown in. He just interpreted dreams for the king’s cupbearer and baker. He’d asked them to remember him when they went before the king. But as he’s starting to expect from his journey so far, they didn’t remember him. In fact, they pretty much forgot all about him.
This is usually where even the most devoted throw in the towel. They used to push off the question of “is this really a dream from the Lord?” “Can it really be true?” “Will it ever happen?” But now the thoughts are allowed to swirl, to persist because all the evidence seems to point to their truth.
What happens when the road to the dream doesn’t look like a dream? When what we see and feel seems to be making a case against the word of the Lord? We believe God.
His word says that He is not a man that He should lie. It says that He that started a good work in us and is faithful and just to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) Times of struggle is what the body of Christ (church) is for. Like our physical body when one part is weak the other part steps in for support. Find that Christian brother or sister that can encourage you in the word of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
Joseph was eventually remembered. Pharaoh had a couple of dreams that needed interpreting, and when none of his magicians and wise men could interpret the dreams, the cupbearer remembered Joseph had been right about his dream and Pharaoh sent for him. Not only did Joseph get an opportunity to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh, but the dreams were a warning that not only saved Egypt but also Joseph’s whole family and all of Israel. Through this, he saw his dream. Pharaoh put him in charge of all of Egypt, and Joseph’s family came to him for food and bowed to him, just as he’d dreamed all those years earlier.
The dreams God has given you are true and will come to pass. But we must be willing to walk the path even if it doesn’t look dream-like.
Account of Joseph stats in Genesis 37.
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