Dealing with disappointment may be one of the greatest challenges in life. People tend to build things up in their heads only to be let down by reality. Or maybe your dream soared high for a moment and then quickly came crashing down to earth.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God and everyone who should have loved you? If so, you are in good company. King David wrote in Psalm 13, “How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? …But I have trusted in thy mercy my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
Even one of the greatest men in the Bible felt abandoned by God. Sometimes when God seems to be the most distant, He is actually molding us the most.
The story of Joseph in Genesis 39-45 shows how even what may seem to be a disaster can be turned around by God’s hand to be a blessing. Joseph appeared to have it all, especially his father’s love, and his brothers hated him for it. And in a flash, his world fell apart.
Joseph unwillingly traded his coat of many colors for slave clothes. Jealously led Joseph’s brothers to do the unthinkable.
You may feel like one of the brothers who hated Joseph. Do you look around at what others have and feel like you are getting left out of the party? You may desire what others have and feel like you will never get what you want. Are you angry with God and jealous about how others seem to be living the life you want to live? When they saw Joseph walking toward them, they said, “The dreamer cometh.” Filled with jealous rage, they reacted. They thought about killing their brother. Instead, they decided to sell him into slavery.
In a matter of minutes, Joseph went from a life of privilege to a life of hopelessness and servitude. He became a slave – a piece of property with no rights. Imagine what must have been going through Joseph’s mind as he heard his own brothers negotiating a price for His life. Part of him probably hoped it was just an act to scare him. Part of him probably feared they were serious.
What about his dreams? How could God turn around this situation? Where Joseph’s dreams just silly childish ideas like his family had said? Through it all, Joseph trusted in God. He kept to the vision even as things went from bad to worse.
Joseph quickly worked his way up until he became overseer of his master’s house. Just when things were looking up, the bottom ped out of his life again. When the wife of his master tried to seduce him, Joseph fled. He did the honorable thing even though it got him thrown in prison. He had the opportunity to win the favor of a very influential woman. She could help make Joseph’s dreams come true. Or she could make even more trouble for him. Joseph feared God more than any man. The woman claimed that Joseph tried to rape her. Even though Joseph was innocent, the false accusations stuck, and he was thrown in prison.
When life seemed darkest, God was working behind the scenes. The Bible indicates that God was with Joseph in prison. By interpreting dreams, Joseph gained the attention of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
Even when Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams led him to gain Pharaoh’s favor, he gave the glory and recognition to God. And when he had the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers, he ultimately blessed them. Sure, he played a trick on them just to see the condition of their hearts. But when he saw their humble attitude and brokenness, he wept and kissed them. God gave him the ability to forgive and love those who had treated him so poorly. Joseph’s trials made him who he was – a person who discovered how to trust God with his dreams.
God used the trials of Joseph to save His entire family. Every little minor crisis led Joseph to where he needed to be when famine swept through the land. All along God was orchestrating things for Joseph’s good. Joseph correctly identified God’s hand in his life. He looks back and credits God for sending him to Egypt. We cannot see into the future. But God can.
We can trust God because He holds time and our very lives in His hands. He sees everything with perfect vision. To God, all of history has already been written.
There are dream slayers out there who will try to deter you from what God has put on your heart. No matter how powerful your enemies are, God is stronger. Ultimately, the only one who can rob you of God’s dream for your life is you.