In the very chapter God gives him dreams, he’s sold into slavery. Joseph, the perhaps obnoxious 17 year old favorite son, has two dreams where he is represented in authority and his brothers are bowing to his authority.He makes the mistake of sharing the dreams with his brothers, and finds himself in the bottom of a pit. Things go from bad to worse when he is sold into slavery and brought to Egypt. So here, in reality, the exact opposite is happening to Joseph than what he had dreamed; rather than being elevated in standing, he is reduced to slavery. Don’t you wonder what he was thinking?
Have you ever had a God-given dream shattered by unexpected reality? It’s very painful and no one looks and says, “wow, I’m so sorry you are walking around with a broken dream.” It’s a unique kind of suffering that I think you have to experience in order to really understand. Maybe you hoped you’d be married by now. Maybe you’ve wanted babies, but haven’t been able to conceive thus far. Maybe you hoped for certain ministry opportunities that seem to have passed you by. Maybe the dreams you had on behalf of another have been shattered. You may have a wayward child, spouse, friend. Broken dreams can leave us in a dark pit, much like we find our young Joseph.
When I read about poor Joseph, I don’t typically grieve for him. You know why? I know the end of the story. I know that God, in His wisdom that is just so far above our wisdom, moved Joseph to Egypt, will place him in various key circumstances that will eventually lead to the preservation of the tribes of Israel, which is crucial because eventually, the Messiah will come from the line of Judah. I know that his dreams will become reality in chapters 42-45.
You may still be at the part in your story where you are sitting in the bottom of a pit wondering what on earth just happened to you. But Joseph’s story is for all of those walking around with a painful, broken dream. Joseph’s story reminds us that God not only knows the ending, He has written all of the twists and turns in between. His ways are not our ways. But think about it, would we want Joseph to dream one day, lead a normal life, then at some point – predictably, find his brothers bowing to him? How would that showcase the sovereign wisdom of God? How would it highlight His faithfulness, His ability to sustain? How would that have led to the heart wrenching truth being deeply engraved on Joseph’s heart when he says, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life…so it was not you who sent me here, but God…As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
Isn’t that stunning?! It’s so beautiful. In those words a light beams into your pit of broken dreams. Your story isn’t over. Your God is the same God as Joseph’s, and one day you will see it was God who sent you to the land of broken dreams, for your good, for others’ good, and for His glory. And one day you will even be grateful He did!