Though I would not dare compare myself to Joseph, when I was a teenager, I had some pretty grandiose dreams. Some dreams people share sound noble and self-sacrificing. Mine sound self-serving and audacious, even though I believe they were God-given. I often hesitate to share my dreams because of my concern for what others might think. Do you remember the response Joseph got when he shared his dreams with his brothers? Verse 5 says, "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more." OUCH! Granted, there was plenty of hurt and emotion going on in the background before Joseph launched into his dream sharing. Nonetheless, dreams can be a fragile thing. When you share your dreams, they may be embraced and encouraged, or they may be mocked and disregarded. I have experienced both.
I feel like I have some things in common with Joseph. I have been in bondage (not sold into slavery), but held captive by lesser things. I have been falsely accused along the way by others who were in search of their own desires. I have been in situations or seasons of life that felt much like the walls of a prison. As of this day, my God-given life dream has still not come true. It has been almost 30 years since God birthed it into my heart. Sometimes waiting feels like a prison...
In the midst of Joseph's journey he was imprisoned for something he didn't do. But, "the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." "Some time later," enter the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker. After interpreting the favorable dream of the chief cup-bearer, Joseph said, "But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharoah and get me out of this prison." All went well with the cup-bearer, but he didn't remember Joseph until two years later! I wonder how Joseph felt in that prison, waiting.
I wonder how often Joseph questioned the dreams he had as a seventeen-year-old. I wonder if he felt a fool for ever believing they might come true. I wonder if he felt selfish for having them because they elevated him above others. I do know this from reading Joseph's story; by the time his dreams became his reality, he was not the same man. Compare the dream-telling verses in chapter 37 to the identity-revealing verses in chapter 45 to see the wonderful transformation. He went from "my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it," to "God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."
Joseph's dreams came true, but the actual reality of God's purpose for them was much greater than anyone could have imagined. So, as I continue to wait, I will worship and try very hard to learn the lessons God is teaching me on the journey. If my dreams ever do become reality, I suspect God's purpose for them is much greater than even I can imagine (and I have a great imagination)! Surprise me, Abba!