When I was in highschool, I had an opportunity to be part of the chorus in our school musical ‘Joseph and His Technicolour Dream Coat’. I have some fond memories including my own sister, who scored the part of the oldest brother Reuben, which meant delivering her lines in a strong male voice and having a proefessional beard applied to her face for every performance. This Bible story has always been one of my favourites but as I have matured into adulthood, I have grown to love how God can speak to me through this story in whatever season I am walking through. It is a beautiful story but also rich with the hand print of God’s faithfulness, providence and leading. It is also a story full of tension. It takes just 30 minutes or so to read, but for Joseph those 30 minutes represent years of process and evidence of a heart that was steadfast and unshakable.
We love the part of this story about dreams and promises and the favour of a father and we love the part where we can feel the shift as Joseph gets closer to the end of his story and we love the panoramic view of God setting Joseph up as a deliverer, positioned in a place of authority. The parts that fascinate me more, however, are the difficult parts because it is in the challenges and dysfunction and seeming resistance that God speaks to my own story …the parts about his dysfunctional family, cruel and vindictive brothers, a filthy well, a caravan of strangers, a slave market, a foreign ungodly boss with saucy temptress and lier as a wife, an Egyptian prison, this is where my attention is going to focus. This is where Joseph inspires me. We like befriending the favoured son of a patriarch and the second most important person in Egypt…but befriending the one sold out and betrayed, falsely accused and forgotten in prison …that for me is where I want to focus my heart. …not because those parts of his story are anything like mine but because Joseph shows me how to respond to my own journey and its challenges and the process and the circumstances that defy what I believe favour and prosperity should feel and look like…(and it also helps me appreciate the beautiful life I actually have). The focus of the author (Moses) is not on the dreams Joseph gets from God but they help give perspective to the difficult parts of our own story. My attention is drawn continually to how Joseph responds to the process of God building and preparing this dreamer to be in the right place at the right time, with the right experience, the right wisdom, the right character.
This one is my kind of story because it ends the way we hope. It has all we want in dreams, promises and hopes fulfilled but also the reality that dysfunction, betrayal, and prison, abandonment and neglect are just as much a part of God’s plan as the other parts of my story.
I may not end up on the global stage as a deliverer to the nations but I have the hand of God on my life and he has called me to live out my purpose. He has given me promises and scheduled in all the right things to build the dreamer to match the dream. When I can not see how his purpose can ever come to pass or when I come into a season when everything is seemingly the opposite of what he promised, this story reminds me that God is working and every season has its way to being a part of God’s intention. This year has been no exception. As I navigate what I believe to mean peace and prosperity as the theme of my heart for 2015, it is the tensions in my personal journey that seek to defy this promise, that have pushed me to find truth to lead me.
‘God, take the details of Joseph’s life and weave your truth into my heart in much the same way you did to him, so that when I get to look back at what could have been I will see your hand orchestrating and weaving a story of faith, forgiveness, hope and grace.’
What are you drawn to in the story of Joseph?
Are there tensions in your own story you feel Jospeh’s story can speak to?
Are there dreams and promises that are being defied by your current situation?