If you’ve been following along the past few weeks, you know that I’m talking about Joseph this summer. His story is remarkable, both in the devastation he experienced, and the majestic redemption God unfolded. How in the world did he stay focused? But don’t take my word for it, open your Bible (or read/listen to your favorite version online), you’ll find him in Genesis 37.
As a child, he had a dream that his family bowed down to him. When he told them about the dream, his brothers’ were furious–they already hated him. His father seemed to doubt the vision. And Joseph’s life doesn’t seem to reflect the substance of that dream. He was betrayed and sold into slavery by his older brothers. And while he was in Egypt things went from bad to worse. Although he worked hard and honored his master, he was falsely accused of attempting to rape his master’s wife. He was sent to prison. It’s unfathomable.
I wonder what Joseph thought about his life as he sat in that cell. Did he feel sorry for himself? Were there moments when the brokenness overwhelmed him? I think we could say that in our human mind, we’d give Joseph some hours (or days) where he had permission to sit on the couch with some Starbucks, binge watch Netflix, and forget how unfair his life had become. But he doesn’t do that. Yeah, I know Starbucks and Netflix weren’t options, but I don’t think he chose anything close to an applicable equivalent.
Joseph was all-in to the plan–the dream that God had given. He didn’t seem to be side-tracked by the specifics of his life—the slavery, the lies, the blame, and the prison. It’s as if he’d had this conversation with the Lord, where God said to him, “Joseph, I want you to work every day as if you’re working for me and not the people around you. And I’m serious. Because when you work for me, I pay in rewards that are not calculable. I will bless you. I will reward you, but it won’t look the way you might expect. I’m asking you to trust me. You’ll see it in small ways every day that turn into big things as the seasons unfold. And you don’t want to miss what I’ve got. You don’t want to miss what I’ve planned. I know that these little steps won’t seem to make sense. The day-to-day reality won’t seem to mesh with the overall vision, but trust me, it will. I just need you to remember this truth, every day you’re working for me.”
And Joseph just takes that conversation at 100% face value and walks it out. He lives like that every single day. He takes the brokenness to God, and allows God to heal him. But he doesn’t allow the pain to destroy his dream. It’s factual truth to him. One day his family will bow down at his feet. He doesn’t question it; he doesn’t think about any other option, he doesn’t vacillate on the basic of God’s truth vs. his feelings. He doesn’t get trapped feeling sorry for himself. He simply walks it out.
His story inspires me. It draws me. It speaks to me and calls out my brokenness. And it reminds me that the details I can see do not prove, or disprove, God’s love for me. I don’t want to waste my future feeling sorry about my past. I must simply make the choice to trust, and walk it out every single day as if my life depends on it. Because it does. And yours does too.