dreams and visions

Have you ever wondered why God gave Joseph dreams and visions – of his brothers and parents coming to depend on him for their survival – when he was only a teenager?

I have.

I wonder if God is sadistic sometimes. I mean, giving a naive and irresponsible teenager those kinds of revelations, knowing that he would just run his mouth about it without considering the potential consequences seems a bit torturous.

God could have avoided excess confusion by just letting the bad stuff happen – the pit, the false death story, the slavery, the fall from favor, the dungeon, the years of sheer misery – without having added insult to injury by giving the kid grand ideas of great success and purpose in advance.

Of course, I don’t really believe God is sadistic, but I do believe God uses our weaknesses (and strengths) to accomplish his plans through us, and that is sometimes painful, and always confusing, for us.

Have you ever wondered why the dream and vision that makes your heart sing seems so elusive? Don’t be coy, or falsely modest: You know what I’m talkin’ about. There’s some dream or idea inside you that makes your heart get all twitterpated, even though the exact definition of the thing seems to consistently escape your grasp.

Why does God put that stuff in you, then dangle it just outside your grasp?

Reminds me of the dog races we used to enjoy during my college years. The rabbit always runs faster, but just ahead of the dogs. Still, every time the gates open, the dogs can’t help but chase the rabbit with all they’ve got.

Truth is, that longing in your heart is simultaneously sickening and absolutely inspiring. Most days, I think it’s what keeps me willing to breathe. In my bones, there is some intrinsic, genetic, dreamy notion that my efforts, though frequently futile, are valuable in ways I may never see, much less understand.

One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis goes something like this: “The greatest havings in life are the wantings.”

I definitely don’t understand the method, but I think all of us know there’s value in the frustration. God forbid we should pack up our dreams and visions in mothballs, choosing to be led around by hopelessness and cynicism. Somewhere, in the corners of all our souls, pots boiling with disdain for apathy generate enough steam to make our wheels keep turning.

Joseph must have had horrid days. Waking up in the dungeon, day after day, after living the high life, at the top of the heap, only to repeatedly crash hard against the darkest days of despair, had to be a tough row to hoe. He must have kicked himself, repeatedly, for believing in the possibility of visions of better days.

Yet, he also must have maintained some solid trust in the promise of dreams coming true. He always seemed to pipe up with good attitude and rosy cheeks, making positive impressions with folks along the way.

Trusting the God-ordained vision for our lives is critical to survival. The vision may never take shape the way we’ve imagined it would, but if it’s really God’s business, failure is inconceivable.

Seems naive and cliche, doesn’t it? I know. Maybe that’s why God created Joseph and saved his story for us, though: to help us believe. Maybe.

2 thoughts on “dreams and visions”

  1. So you say my name is Joseph?
    Well I’m tired of living in this pit.
    Tired of dreaming these dreams,
    A slave in Egypt.

    And they say a famine’s coming?
    I’ve been starving for years.
    My brothers said that I was dead,
    But I’m still here.

    And I’m the jailer of the prison
    That’s causing my pain,
    But it’s the job that I’ve been given,
    So I guess I can’t complain…

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