A few days ago, a friend and I were talking about how we walk through difficult times without always knowing why or what the end of the story will be. She pointed out that the people of the Bible also walked through hard times not knowing the why or seeing the end of the story–which got me thinking about some of them.
Joseph was one of those people. As we find him in Genesis 37, his life was on track. Sure his brothers weren’t huge fans, but he was deeply loved by his father. On top of that, God spoke to him through dreams. And they were good dreams:
“‘Listen to this dream,’ he said. ‘We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!'” (Genesis 37:6-7 NLT).
“Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. ‘Listen, I have had another dream,’ he said. ‘The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!'” (Genesis 37:9 NLT).
Then his life took a dramatic turn. His brothers, jealous because of the favor he received from his father and these dreams that foretold of them bowing to him, sold him into slavery. Suddenly, his life was very different than the one he had envisioned. He found himself in a foreign country, working as a slave. But the Lord blessed him, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master” (Genesis 39:2 NLT). However, despite finding success, this wasn’t exactly the fulfillment of his dreams. He was still off track somehow.
Once again, things took an unfortunate turn. He was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison (Genesis 39:6-20). I can only imagine how Joseph felt. On that first night, I wonder if he cried out to God in frustration and desperation, “There must be some mistake! This can’t be right! What about the dreams you gave me?! How will they be fulfilled from here?!” In that moment, I believe Joseph had a choice–he could bemoan the unfulfilled dreams and become bitter. Or he could keep his eyes on the Dream Giver and trust Him to do what He said He would do. I think the story shows that he chose to trust God because, once again, God blessed him, even in prison: “But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden” (Genesis 39:21 NLT).
But I’m sure this was a choice he had to make over and over again–in moments of fear or loneliness. Or when he successfully interpreted the cup bearers dream. I’m sure he thought this was the moment when all things would be set right. But the cup bearer forgot about him. And he was stuck in prison for two more years! I can imagine how hard it was for him to pull himself back up and say, “I will trust you Lord, no matter what!” But I believe that’s exactly what he did.
We all know the conclusion of the story. He was released from prison and saw the fulfillment of his dreams (Genesis 41-45). But none of it would have happened if Joseph hadn’t chosen to trust God–over and over again.
“God is not a man, so He doesn’t lie. He is not human, so He doesn’t change His mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” – Number 23:19 NLT
I’ve been given this choice too. I can choose to focus on the dream that is unfulfilled or the promise that has been unmet. Or I can keep my eyes on the Dream Giver and Promise Keeper. God’s Word says, “God is not a man, so He doesn’t lie. He is not human, so He doesn’t change His mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Number 23:19 NLT).
So I will choose to trust the Lord, no matter how many detours life seems to take. I will choose to trust Him, no matter how many times I get my hopes up that this will be the moment that all things are set right, only to be disappointed in people again. I will “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise” (Hebrews 10:23 NLT).
I can’t see the end of my story, but I know that God does. So I choose to trust Him, no matter what!