Sidetracked Dreams

Overnight, Joseph went from prison to Pharaoh’s palace.

Overnight? Not exactly. It was over 4,745 bleak nights—thirteen dreary years after his jealous brothers sidetracked his dream.

I wonder how many midnights Joseph cried out, Lord God, I remember the dream! How much longer till I see the promise fulfilled?

Joseph’s story spans several chapters in Genesis (37-50). The narrative is intriguing with a happy-ever-after ending that almost fictionalizes the account. Keep in mind the central character was a real person enduring real hardship and suffering real pain.

Life was all too real for Joseph—mistreated, wrongfully accused, and imprisoned. In the dark of night, he had plenty of time to review the catastrophic events since his teenage years when he fell out of favor in the family.

His dream of sheaves of grain bowing down—symbolic of a future day when his siblings would kneel before Joseph—must have drifted through his thoughts like barley seed scattered in the wind. Scanning the heavens at night surely stirred his memory of a second dream—the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing to him.

I wonder if he wondered, Lord, what was that all about? Did I misunderstand?

Joseph may have had questions, but he didn’t waste his bad experience. He wasn’t waiting for someone to discover a clerical error and set him free. He wasn’t waiting for a better position to open up. Joseph was waiting on God.

Divine delay became a trust issue. Would he fasten his faith on the God who had promised? He did and in God’s time, he delivered.

After at least 4,745 long, lonely nights, Joseph went from prison to Pharaoh’s palace and the honorable position of governor in charge of the whole land of Egypt, second in command to Pharaoh himself.

Are you grieving over sidetracked dreams? Has too much reality obscured God’s personal word to you and blotted out hope? Are you wondering if it’s practical to continue waiting?

If God has given you a promise, remember this: you aren’t waiting on a person to change or an opportunity to come along or a circumstance to improve. You are waiting on God. He promised to deliver his people—and he will. Meanwhile…be faithful in this place.

  • Do your best. Joseph prospered in prison.
  • Keep a positive perspective. Discouragement is debilitating.
  • Praise by a decision of the will. Read the Psalms and underline every I will.
  • Trust God to deliver. If it doesn’t happen in your lifetime, you’re no worse off for expecting and believing.

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.

Psalm 40:1-4a)


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