We all have dreams. We dream of getting a perfect score on the ACT, we dream of getting into our favorite college, we dream of landing our long-hoped-for career, we dream of getting married, having kids, and setting up a home. Though each of us have unique dreams, one thing remains the same for all of us – we all have dreams.
What happens then when your dreams don’t come true? Or when they not only do not come true, but the complete opposite happens and you flunk the ACT, don’t get accepted into the coveted college, aren’t hired for the job, or remain single until you’re 35? What then? Has God forgotten about you? Has He stopped caring? Is He some cosmic dream-crusher out to get you and destroy all your hopes?
Well, if we know anything about the Bible and what it says about the character of God, then we know in our minds that of course none of those things are true. But that doesn’t always keep our hearts from remaining broken, confused, and reeling from the disappointment.
The good news is that the Word of God is replete with examples of people whose dreams were crushed only to find that, all along, their loving God had an infinitely better plan in store for them. One such example of this (and perhaps my favorite!) is Joseph, whose amazing story is recorded in Genesis 37-50.
If we’re talking big dreams, Joseph is our go-to guy! While he slept one day, he had a literal dream that his older brothers would all one day bow down to him. In his mind, his future was set – not only was he most beloved of his father, but the time would come when every single last one of his older brothers – who often despised him in the present because he was their father’s favorite! – would bow the knee to him. Sounds great, right?
Disappointment After Disappointment
Well, maybe things weren’t so great, after all. Maybe our friend, Joseph, told his older brothers about this dream of his in a less than humble way. Whatever the case, Joseph’s dream really riled up his siblings and they concocted a scheme to throw him into a pit and make their father think he had been killed. They quickly resorted to Plan B, however, when they discovered they could instead make money off of him by selling him into slavery in Egypt.
While in slavery, things begin to look a bit better for a moment when Joseph finds favor in the sight of Potiphar, the Pharaoh’s right-hand man, and is made overseer of Potiphar’s house. Then disappointment strikes again, however, when Potiphar’s wife wrongly accuses him of making sexual advances towards her. At this point, to add insult to injury, Jospeh gets thrown into prison.
While in prison, Joseph is able to correctly interpret the dream of one of his fellow prisoners and when he is released, Joseph asks that prisoner to put in a good word for him with the Pharaoh, in the hopes that this will lead to Joseph, too, being released. What happens instead is that Joseph’s fellow prisoner forgets all about him and Joseph is left in prison.
God’s Good Plan
As mentioned above, Joseph’s story is a long one in the book of Genesis and we can’t go into it all here, but fast forward in the story and we see that Joseph is released from prison after he correctly interprets one of the Pharoah’s dreams, a dream of warning regarding a coming famine. Because they knew about the famine ahead of time, they were able to prepare for it and survive it.
The people of Israel were able to be rescued from the coming famine, as well, when Jospeh’s brothers arrive in Egypt in need of sustenance for their people and they find a gracious and forgiving Joseph there ready to help them. My favorite verse in this entire account from Joseph’s life is found in Genesis 50:20 when Joseph says to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
Good News for Today
Did you catch that? All of the ups and downs which occurred in Joseph’s life – being mistreated and hated, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused, and forgotten about in prison – were not only a part of God’s overarching, big-picture, good plan for Joseph’s life, but it went much further than even just that. Everything that happened to Joseph also happened so that the lives of many other people could be saved from the raging famine in the land. If that’s not amazing, then I don’t know what is! No doubt Joseph walked away from that entire experience grateful for everything he had ever walked through – every hard, lonely, seemingly unfair and unwanted path – and not wishing to change a bit of it.
What I want you to know today, friend, is that the same God who had a good plan in store for Joseph’s life – even when it didn’t look or feel like it! – is the same God who has a good plan in store for your life, as well. Your dreams may look crushed in this moment, life may seem unfair, and you may not see a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there. I promise. Look up, keep your eyes fixed on the God who worked everything together for Joseph’s good and will do the same for you, and rest in His arms. He loves you, and He’s got you. Entrust your dreams to Him.