I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.
Even though he was detoured, waylaid, some would say stopped, Joseph kept looking for his dream. His dream lived in him.
From what I can gather Joseph didn’t have much, any, support from the immediate world around him. Potiphar and Pharaoh were not interested in Joseph’s dreams as much as Joseph was interested in his own, not even close. In fact, in that culture, slaves do not matter at all. So what if you have a dream?
Pharaoh’s dramatic dream now interpreted and in play had Joseph doing his job, what he was appointed to do. That was all that mattered to Pharaoh but not to Joseph. We know because he named his kids from out of the dream-pool that he had in his heart. His dream leaked out of his life.
1) Manasseh – first son – and means forget – “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” (Genesis 41:51, NIV)
2) Ephraim – second son – and means twice fruitful – “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:52, NIV)
I’m about 60; no make that 70% entrepreneurial. I see more potential than I ever could take advantage of, or in actuality that my wife would let me take advantage of. That means that I often live with an expectant anticipating heart.
I tend to be the guy that wants to move on the dream taking what is current and moving toward what I can see in my mind’s eye. I want what I perceive to best, and I keep looking for it around every corner.
From my narrow slant on the world I understand dreams, I understand heartbreak, and I know the fulfillment of dreams that were thought to be dead. I also understand expectations that fall short of what’s real.
Joseph’s dreams became a reality. Maybe mine will also.
The word dream can have a different meaning to different people.
“I have a dream” by Martin Luther King was vastly different than my waking up moments this morning.
I woke up feeling like I had been on a movie set of scripts and roles all night. It was delightfully exhausting. Idea after idea rolled out scene after scene unfolded, but I don’t remember a single one now that I’m awake.
For Joseph’s dream to leave the script of an idea and join the real world, many players many physical realities had to be moved and altered. That meant time; that meant energy; that meant processing for everyone involved. It had to go from what is now to what will be. That meant things had to change, and change is very problematic for the routine.
You probably don’t like change any more than I do, but I want my dreams fulfilled. Not the pleasant dreams I can’t remember from last night, but the ones that are shaping my life and ‘firing my jets.’ The dreams of change, distinction, meaning and significance, those dreams that if uttered might bring risk, challenge, and embarrassment because how dare I? How dare you?
What dreams are making room for you? What secret space of incredible is waiting for you and your “more than all we ask or imagine?” “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)
The plans of discarding all that is right and true
The one night stand
Think outside the box that you find yourself in.
Joseph had to. He had to look for more than childhood dreams. They just weren’t working out how he had envisioned them. The prison box that he was held captive in did not house the dream that was in his heart.
All he had left were hopes and dreams, and you know? They were probably too small.
What box, what pressure cooker are you living in? Perhaps, the very thing creating all the pressure is forming you, for the better, the best.
So, I read a story today about a guy when he was young, who, almost cavalierly, asked God to fill his life with the power of the Holy Spirit. He accounts that God immediately answered and he felt God’s power. His life went on to be amazing. The events of his life took a positive graph position, up and to the right, and, looking at his life today, that appears to be exactly what happened.
That is not what happened to me. Oh, when I was young, I felt God amazingly fill me, but my life went anywhere but up and to the right. This reading today was an emotional GPS moment of truth versus feelings for me.
I would like to be able to tell the story of success and accomplishment, according to my version of those things, according to the way that story I read today worked, but that is not my story. Rather my story is one of a very Blue Collar, slug it out, and figure it out type of life. The two books I have written, Blue Collar Theology and Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl, tell some of these accounts.
Does God show favouritism? Do some get the “Blessed or Easy Way,” while others of us get to clean up the mess? Sometimes it seems so. But, it is not so!
God carefully, amazingly, intimately, and personally cares for you. He is working a plan that supports and includes you, even if it isn’t immediately obvious.
He wants to connect with you in such an incredible and purposeful way. All you need to do is what I did: Acknowledge him in all your ways, (this includes your emotions at the moment) Proverbs 3:5&6, and choose truth over feelings.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
I don’t measure the amount of water I drink in metres or feet, neither do I build my house by quarts or litres. The right quantifier, measuring stick, is imperative. It makes all the difference and gets the job done.
We need to discover our personal, emotional, GPS. Who we measure against is most revealing.
Already in the previous blog, I tried to discuss the futility of comparing ourselves with someone else. It just produces a false reading.
However, if we compare ourselves with the ultimate source, with God, we get an accurate, though maybe uncomfortable reading, every time.
There is a huge advantage here.
An accurate attitudinal positioning makes for a great foundation in life. It provides for admitting our lack humbly, but at the same time to fully embrace our strengths. The playing field is levelled, we are humanly equal, and both the rose-coloured glasses and the dark shades of shame are eliminated. We no longer need to prove ourselves to anyone. We can breathe deeply once more.
Because the one we measure against has demonstrated in abundance His acceptance and love for us regardless of where we fall on the scale. He gave us Christmas.
Some people are ready to quit. Some are ready to exceed expectations. Some people are ready to leave, and others are ready to stay. A few are ready to go back to bed. Then there are those that are ripe-ready to get angry. (That would be someone else). Others are party-bursts waiting to happen.
What are you ready for?
Getting ready has an action attached even if you haven’t thought about it or don’t realize it.
If you knew that I was coming to pick you up for dinner, not just any dinner but we are going to dinner at your favorite spot with your favorite sports hero, or movie star, you would immediately start preparing.
Your preparation would start with your dreams then it would move to the order of your day and what has to happen and then it would be the practical steps to make yourself ready. Nothing has changed in your day up until this moment, just information. But you would immediately start your list in mind preparation. Immediately.
If I then showed up at your door at the appointed time with my sandals, t-shirt, and swimsuit only to inform you that we were going to the beach instead, you most likely would be angry. Why? You would be upset because you believed me and then took the appropriate time to get ready. You already were taking action for the dream that was playing in your mind.
Well, here is some enormously important information.
God has great plans for you. He wants to move you and your heart-dreams ahead. He wants you to prosper with no downside. He wants your heart to look ahead in hope to a bright future.
Jeremiah gave this promise in the middle of a prophecy to the people of Israel. They were in hard times and some of those times were going to get even harder.
Right into the middle of their pain, God speaks this promise through Jeremiah.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)