Sometimes we look around us and it feels like nothing is working. You have a dream in your heart. It could be a new dream or maybe it’s a dream you’ve carried for years. Things haven’t gone according to your plans and you feel like you’re starting to lose hope. Don’t!
If we look at the life of Joseph in the Bible, we see someone who had every reason to give up hope in his dream but he didn’t and he eventually saw it come to pass.
Joseph had a literal dream given to him by God that one day he would reign over his brothers.
“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” – Genesis 37:5-7
Joseph was seventeen years old when he had this dream (Genesis 37:2) but it would be another thirteen years before things would even look like they were working in his favor. His circumstances kept going from bad to worse.
His own brothers sold him into slavery because of their jealousy. He had to work as a slave in Egypt and despite being faithful was falsely accused of a crime which landed him in prison.
Joseph could have lost hope. He could have thought, "God has forgotten me," or “Nothing ever works out for me.” But despite his circumstances and even though things just seemed to get worse for him, Joseph never gave up hope. How do I know this?
Because despite his circumstances the Bible several times refers to him as a prosperous man.
And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. – Genesis 39:2 (KJV)
On the outside, Joseph did not look prosperous, but he had a prosperous mentality. Joseph didn’t look at his surroundings and think, “this is where I will always be.” On the inside of him, he had a different picture painted.
Joseph had a relationship with God and from that relationship, he had an assurance that things would turn out good.
Joseph had a sense of purpose and that came from hope. As a result, he worked hard and was successful.
“The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” – Genesis 39:23
Eventually, Joseph had the opportunity to interpret two dreams from Pharoah’s servants: a cupbearer and a baker who were thrown into prison. Joseph interpreted them correctly and asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was reinstated into his position, but he forgot Joseph. Two more years passed (Genesis 41:1).
How do you think Joseph felt in those two years? He could have felt bitter. He could have felt angry. It seemed like a breakthrough was about to happen and yet he ended up waiting another two years. If he ever could have let go of hope it would have been during this time. It certainly didn’t look like things would ever happen for him.
Joseph wasn’t angry though he was preparing himself. Because when opportunity did strike, Joseph was ready. In an instant, Joseph went from his lowest point to his highest point.
He was taken from prison to the presence of the King of Egypt. Pharaoh had a dream and Joseph was brought before him to interpret his dream which he did but not only did he interpret his dream he also presented Pharaoh with a plan on how to deal with the upcoming famine. Pharaoh and all his officials saw the wisdom in this plan and because Joseph was the one who presented it Pharoah put him in charge.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – Genesis 41:39-40
Joseph spent a long time waiting for this moment but because he never let go of hope and still prepared himself, in less than a day, he went from being a prisoner to the second highest in command over all Egypt.
God can do the same for you. He can promote you quicker than you can blink.
Joseph was seventeen years old when he got his dream (Genesis 37:2) but he was thirty before things he even looked like they were working in his favor (Genesis 41:46). Then there was at least another seven years that passed before his dream was fulfilled (Genesis 41:53) and his brothers bowed down before him. That’s a total of twenty years from the time Joseph first had his dream to the time it was recognized.
I really hope it doesn’t take twenty years for your dream to come true but if it does are you willing to persist despite what circumstances come your way?
Regardless of how things appear around you, have an inner picture of how your future will be.
Focus on this and when things get tough press in to God. Don’t allow yourself to become angry or bitter. Keep preparing yourself and working hard. If you do this, just like Joseph, you will hold on to hope and one day you will see your dreams accomplished.