Have you ever had a dream that appeared to be both amazing and yet unrealistic? A dream that both excited and terrified you at the same time. If I dream, I don’t typically remember what it is unless it’s a nightmare. So when I have a dream that I remember (and it doesn’t frighten me), I spend the next couple of days wondering if it means anything.
There are a few instances in the Bible where people have dreams and they carry meaning with them. The story of Joseph has come up a lot recently in my life. Joseph was one of twelve children, but he was highly favoured in his father’s sight. Moreover, he was a dreamer. One day Joseph shared that he had two separate dreams, and both included his brothers and his parents bowing down to him. Needless to say, while Joseph was amazed and wondered at this impossibility, no one else shared his excitement or enthusiasm.
Shortly after sharing his dreams, Joseph’s brothers despised him enough to want him dead. After a short debate, some of the brothers decided it was best that he be sold into slavery. You would think that the story can’t get any worse, but throughout the rest of Genesis, you see Joseph experience various victories and defeats. For the sake of time, I will let you read this fascinating story for yourself, but I am going to spoil the end. (Feel free to reference Genesis 37-50 for all the details)
Joseph’s dreams came to life
In a striking rags to riches story, Joseph not only rose to one of the most powerful positions of his time, but also his brothers unknowingly and humbly sought him for help during a famine. What were once dreams became reality.
How? Because the same God who gave the dream was also the same God that fulfilled the dream.
Why? Because as Joseph states,
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.Genesis 50:20
What I love about this story is that Joseph was on a “need-to-know” basis with God. Although his circumstances didn’t appear good, it is evident that Joseph trusted God and His provision. When you read his story, it is clear that God is working, even while Joseph is waiting for his dream to be fulfilled.
Joseph was 17 when he shared his dreams, but it wasn’t until he was 30 years old that he was elevated to the second in command of Pharaoh. With his age came wisdom and experience working as a ruler. Joseph started off as a shepherd in his father’s house. Then, when he was sold into slavery, God was with him, and he was put in charge of Potiphar’s household and he was entrusted to care for everything Potiphar owned. When Joseph was thrown in prison, as a result of unjust circumstances, God was with him and he was put in charge of the prisoners. Because of God’s love and compassion, each of these circumstances served to prepare Joseph for leading a nation through a severe famine and ultimately saving his own family.
This story has been such an encouragement in the past couple of weeks. It has served as a reminder that the same God who once gave me a dream eight years ago to serve overseas is the same God who is finally making this dream a reality. Like Joseph, the path I took to get here was not expected, nor has it been easy. However, throughout the past couple of years I have seen God change me into a different person. Who I was when I had this dream to go overseas is not who I am today. My skill set is different because of education, practice, and ministry experience in various cultural settings. The love and support I have today is much larger because God has opened doors for me to serve in various ministry roles.
If I’m honest, I’ve wrestled many times with God about my dreams. But now that I’m here, I want to offer encouragement! God is big and He can do impossible things! So, what God-sized dreams have you been given? (If you don’t have any, maybe the first place to start is to ask for one!) Do your dreams both excite and terrify you? Do you trust that the same God who gave you the dream, is the same God who can carry it through? I pray that this year you have the courage to dust off those forgotten or lost dreams, and that you see God move in amazing ways!