In the dungeon every wall conveyed the same message to Joseph. The walls firmly and decisively mocked his dream with a resounding NO. Wherever Joseph turned he faced a wall of circumstances that contested his hope and tried to devastate his faith. In the midst of these adverse circumstances God made Joseph prosper and gave him favor. In other words, Joseph increased in the riches of Christ while he patiently waited and hoped for his release.
His brothers had mocked his dream from the very beginning. They said: “Behold, the dreamer is coming, let us throw him into some pit.” It was a beautiful and grand dream. One of those dreams that fills us with joyful expectation and makes us smile when we dare to take it out of the shelf and enjoy its radiance. But, since we are thrown into our personal dungeon in which every wall conveys the same depressing message our dream has faded and our hope and faith are almost shipwrecked. Every day we wrestle with the question: “Has God really said?” And as if that isn’t enough, our dreams that ascend from those secret places in our hearts are subjected to severe mockery as well.
In everything that transpired Joseph was perfectly in God’s dream. It was God’s dream from beginning to end. But, there was one vital lesson God wanted to drive home in Joseph. God was the one who would fulfill the dream. Joseph had to learn to trust no human power in regards to its consummation. Even the chief butler forgot him after Joseph helped the butler interpreting his dream. To most others that would have been an awful disappointment, but Joseph seemed to posses that kind of faith that sleeps in the boat when the storm rages. It is not unlikely that His hope was enkindled to new heights when the butler was released and reinstated in Pharaoh’s service. But, nothing happened. Needless to say, but Joseph must have faced a most powerful temptation towards yielding to bitterness when his dream again seemingly was crushed to nothing before his eyes. But, He didn’t.
Faith, a commodity more precious than gold, is tested and purified by fire. There are days when the pain is so debilitating that we make it through the day by the skin of our teeth. Like Joseph it seems to us that that the suffering is never ending. Those suffocating negatives that come against us every day will reveal God as the great positive in us so that our faith will be in His ability to perform what He has promised. And He will do it. He is faithful.
Jesus said about Himself that in everything He did He was pleasing to His Father. We claim this to be true about ourselves too so that the faith word we are given and which we more than once due the the circumstances feebly hold fast to is pleasing to God. We say as God: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa 55:11)
To us it seems like everything is at stake. Our faith, yeah, everything we believe to be true will turn to dust if that breakthrough we yearn for never manifests. We vacillate between utter despondency and optimism. There are days when it feels like we are about to descend helplessly into the vast nothingness and disintegrate, but suddenly God is there again enlarging the steps under our feet. Thomas Merton put it like this: “He is fighting for his life. His being itself is a foundering ship, reaching with each breath to plunge into nothingness and yet inexplicably remaining afloat on the void.”
Reason stubbornly contests our faith and repeatedly asserts that the whole thing is impossible. It is so tempting to give in for its claims. But, there is something inside of us that ridiculously holds fast to our hope and which fuels our faith in the face of every obstacle. It is no other than Christ who steps forward as the author of our faith.
A war is raging on our inside. The battleground is our minds and our emotions effectively portray how the war advances. When it seems to us that we are on the verge of victory we elevated and boldly profess our faith word and the desired outcome. In the next instance when defeat seems inevitable we regret every bold word and our emotions are so bothersome that we feel psychically ill.
It is in times like this we come to learn God as the great comforter. By the comfort we have been comforted we can comfort others. Joseph perfectly demonstrated how this works out in our lives when he with great compassion forgave his brothers and alleviated their pain and confusion by his gracious acts towards them.
We know that in God’s perfect timing Joseph was risen to ascendancy to save many alive, and the riches of everything that now was subjected to Joseph far superseded those glimpses the dream had provided him. Thus, persevere my friend, persevere.