Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why Your Dream Hasn't Come True...Yet


Joseph. One of my favorite people in the Bible. I taught on him last week in class. I can never make it through without crying.

God gave Joseph a dream. A big dream. Most times, when God gives us a dream it'll be bigger than us so we don't get the glory.

But Joseph was only 17. He was immature, bratty, spoiled, and a tattle tale. He wasn't ready for his dream.

And that's why God allowed tough circumstances to enter his life. He was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt as a slave. He was purchased by the captain of the guard. Yet, Joseph was successful in everything because the Lord was with him. Even in tough times, Joseph clung to his faith. He abided in God. When the master's wife came at him day after day, he refused until he had to literally run lest he sinned against God.

Doing the right thing landed him in prison.

Joseph let himself get comfortable. Hey, the Captain's house wasn't home, but it wasn't the pit his brothers had tossed him in and it could be worse. He had freedom to come and go. He had his master's household under his authority. No more iron neck collars or fetters.

But God didn't allow him to go into captivity to be comfortable as a slave. He still had a dream to fulfill. So He took him out of his comfort zone and placed Joseph in another set of grim circumstances.

In prison, Joseph was a success. God was with him. And he was given all authority over everyone there. He'd been faithful with little. Now, he was faithful over a little more.

He matured. Life wasn't about him alone anymore. He'd taken an interest in others. That's how he could tell something was wrong with the baker and the butler. He was becoming more of the man God knew he was to be. He was getting closer to his dream.

And then the Pharaoh had a dream. Joseph interpreted it. And he became ruler over much. Over the nation of Egypt in fact. He was 30.

When his brothers came and bowed down to him, fulfilling the dream he had. He was at least 37.

Dreams take time. Your dreams aren't even all about you. God was working behind the scenes, not only for Joseph--to bless him, but for His people He'd made covenant with. A famine was coming and God was making plans to take care of them. He was working on uniting a dysfunctional family. His brothers hated him. His father favored him over the rest. And He was working on showing a nation, who considered Pharaoh a god amongst the other 1000 gods they worship, His glory. Giving them a chance to see a true living God. 

Yes, dreams take time.

 God needs time to mold us into what we need to be in order to handle them when they come true.

 Joseph understood this when he said, "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." Genesis 41:52

It's in the disastrous times, tough times, frightening times, uncertain times, painful times, lonely times that God can cut off the things in our lives that don't belong and produce a fruit (a beneficial, wonderful product) that will last. It's in those times if we abide in Christ, we will become more Christ-like.

I'm sure Joseph questioned his circumstances. But at the end of the day, I think he may have said exactly what this song says he did. I love this video clip from Joseph, King of Dreams. It's a favorite movie of mine. Take a minute and let the words seep into your heart.

And remember when you wonder and ask, "Why?"

You God, know better than I. 

Have you found that God is near in the tough times?  Why or why not?

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31 comments:

  1. Good word today (as always!) We get so impatient with God and His timing that we often fail to take into account what He is trying to do in and through us. Joseph's story is a beautiful reminder of this truth!

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  2. Such an amazing story of God's faithfulness!

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  3. Such truth here, Jess. Don't you love how the book He left us is filled with stories that lead us to that truth? THAT"s what I want to do! Great reminder that He's always at work, even in the bumps on the road that lead us to where He's taking us.

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  4. Honestly, I've struggled this year. It's been a tough one. However, I have seen that when I truly spend time with God in prayer, his goodness shines and the good in tough situations reveals itself. It's not always an easy walk, and I think God needs our attention in order to reveal what was already there.

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    1. Excellent insight, Heather. And so true. :) I'm not sure it's ever an easy walk. I just wish sometimes it was! lol

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  5. Jessica, you and I are on the same page! I've been thinking about Joseph all year. About how God made him wait. About how unjust and unfair his life was. About how bitter he must have been at first, but how his pride was worn down, polished, smoothed. To me, the real Joseph--the Joseph God wanted all along--came out when he wept at the sight of his brothers. He loved them, even after they treated him so terribly, and he wanted to make their life better. So powerful! I'm getting all teared up!! But, yeah, I remind myself of Joseph's journey often. It makes my problems pale. :)

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    1. Agreed, it makes my problems pale too. I think you're right, about when the real Joseph showed himself. I always cry at that part.

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  6. I love your point that this isn't really about us. It hits home for me, because I so often pin all of this weight to MY successes, and what I accomplish. But what if I truly, truly did everything for God? I mean, yes, deep down I do want the things I do for unselfish reasons--I really do want Him to be glorified--but do I live like it day in and day out? Is THAT my focus when I'm stressing out about stuff?

    My biggest struggle--my biggest challenge--is to trust that he's got this.

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    1. It's easy to turn our dream inward, after all God did give us to US, but it's never just about "me". Girl, He does. Got this. ;)

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  7. Cool thing: I'm reading the story of Joseph to my youngest in this really cool storybook Bible.

    Guess it's a message I sort of need to be told over and over again.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Same here. I tell it every 6 weeks (in class), and sometimes I just watch this video. I love it!

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  8. "Your dreams aren't even all about you." Awesomeness. :)

    I love Joseph. My mom gave me a book a few years back called "God Meant it for Good," all about Joseph's life. So good!

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    1. I read that! I think.
      I may have to check. But I think I did! lol

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  9. God is often so close in the tough times, that He's too close for me to see. Later on, when the storm has passed and I step back a little, that's when I can see how much He cared for me and sheltered me amidst the battle. What I love about Joseph's story - the thing I've thought about the most - is that while Joseph was in that pit and in that prison, we know what his outcome is going to be - but he didn't, and yet, he remained faithful. Isn't that like us? God knows the outcome - He knows the good plans He has for us, but we don't, and yet, He's calling us to remain faithful, as well.

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    1. That's good insight, Gabe. Sometimes I have to look back to see where He was, but at least when I can't see Him, I do feel Him! :)

      Love your encouragement and wisdom, girl.

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  10. LOVE what you said about our dreams being bigger than us so God gets the glory! How true. When I get anxious about things, I have to remind myself, it isn't about me - it's about what He wants.

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    1. "I have to remind myself, it isn't about me - it's about what He wants."

      And that's the hard part sometimes, isn't it? I need many swift kicks in my pants. :)

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  11. Oh - I LOVE this, Jess. Such a great reminder. THANK you.

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  12. "God didn't allow him to go into captivity to be comfortable as a slave." WOW. This is spot on for our excess-driven world. Sometimes I became slave to comfortability itself. Complacency sets in and then God gets my attention. But I love the fact that He loves me enough to keep getting my attention. Instead of asking "Why, God?", I've started asking, "What, God?" What does He want me to learn in that situation?

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    1. Me too, Donna. I look back and think, what would have happened if God HADN'T gotten my attention? I shudder to think. I like your questions. Not why but what! Awesome wisdom!

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  13. Wonderful words of wisdom, Jess. I admit to moments of shaky faith when *I* felt God wasn't near, but I know he was working behind the scenes. A series of disappointments shaped me into the person I am today--flaws and all. As one dream has been fulfilled, I have a couple of other big ones on the horizon that I'm giving up to God because He is the one in control.

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    1. Lisa, I'm praying that you'll have peace while waiting.

      I let God have things a lot...and then I try to take them back. lol Praying you won't do that!

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  14. Well everyone already said it numerous times, but I have to say it too! How powerful is that statement!! "Your dreams aren't even all about you!" Love it, just love it! Puts me back into that space of being small and simply grateful that He's included me in any dream at all!

    There's just so much meat and truth between those two covers isn't there??? ;) (I'm talking about the Bible in case you didn't pick up on that! But I'm sure you did, and me mentioning it just sounds ridiculous so I should probably delete it, but that'll take too much time...so I won't! ;) Wow, I'm in a mood today!)

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  15. Hm. I think it's hardest when God DOES NOT seem near in the tough times. Those are the times when you're tempted to say, "Forget it. He doesn't answer if I ask, seek and knock. He doesn't love me like a Father." And yes, I confess to having those doubtless blasphemous thoughts lately. But I just keep taking them to God in prayer...begging Him to hear or show Himself, just a little. To release me from what feels like a heavy hand laying on me (a prison of sorts). Following dreams is never easy. Being a DREAMER isn't easy. But it's integral to being a writer, so I guess I'm still willing to take those risks.

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  16. "God needs time to mold us." Sigh. If I was more moldable maybe it would speed up the process. LOL
    Joseph is a great movie. So is Moses...but then God IS the master story-maker.
    The song gives me goosebumps. :-)

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  17. Great post, Jess! I so needed the encouragement, straight from the Bible. I just love how you went through each phase of Joseph's life.

    It wasn't just that he was a slave and God made him second in command of Egypt. There's so much more struggle and growth in between. It's a painful, but necessary process.

    Just gotta keep trusting God. Even when he seems far away. Love that part in the song that says Joe gave up having to know why. Working on that!

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  18. Whoa, talk about a God-breathed post, Jessica. This was just what I needed to hear. So many quotable quotes in here, but I think this is my fave: "Most times, when God gives us a dream it'll be bigger than us so we don't get the glory." You may have just inspired a spin-off post from me. :)

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