As I have been meditating on this verse, I have encountered different scriptures, stories, and testimonies - but I was drawn back to a familiar story and began to ponder it. It's the story of Joseph. Genesis 37 through 50 tells the story of Joseph, the second youngest son of Jacob (who God renames Israel). It is from Jacob/Israel's sons that the 12 tribes of Israel, the nation, derived. Joseph's story takes up a large portion of the first book of the Bible. It tells of dreams deferred, enmity and injustices. But it also speaks of hope, forgiveness and vision fulfilled.
The story of Joseph begins with a dream ... vision. He dreamt that one day he would rule over his family. It seemed odd and perhaps borderline familial insubordination for a teenager to think he would rule over his mother, father, and ten older brothers. Especially when in that day and age it was the firstborn that inherited any rights of authority over the household.
But there he was receiving dreams, from God, about one day having authority over the very ones who had, at that moment, authority over him. The dreams Joseph had became a problem though. His brothers were already jealous of him because he was his father's favorite. But it also appears they were tired of hearing about Joseph's dreams.
The brothers conspired, set out to kill him, but instead sold him into slavery. After he is enslaved, his master's wife accused him of attempting to rape her so he ended up in prison. Things were not looking good for Joseph's dreams to come to fruition. However, while he was in jail he received a break. He correctly interpreted two dreams of some "highly placed" people which led to his release to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams (albeit two years after his initial interpretations). Subsequently, Joseph was named the number 2 person in authority in Egypt - second only to the Pharaoh. Eventually, his brethren encountered him, due to the "worldwide" famine, and had to bow to him because of his position. It was a long arduous journey for his dreams to be fulfilled. His brothers tried to kill his dreams, his master's wife tried to kill his dreams, it looked as though prison would surely kill his dreams. How did he remain faithful to God and full of integrity through it all?
I believe it is because Joseph had a vision and he kept that vision before him at all times.
I don't believe Joseph relayed the dream to his family only on two occasions. I think he did it often. So often, it drove his brothers to murderous thoughts. Think about it. What drives you crazy? Hearing something undesirable once or twice, or hearing it over and over again?
Loving adorable daughter comes up with some pretty funny and outlandish sayings. It's cute at first - but after hearing it for the hundredth time, on the same day, I wish she'd never come up with it to begin with!
I also believe Joseph understood the concept of writing the vision and making it plain. He may not have written it down, but at the very least, I believe he rehearsed it enough for it to become such a part of him, nothing he encountered deterred him from his vision: separation from family, impending death, slavery, false accusations, imprisonment, being forgotten ... None of this caused Joseph to do anything foolish and consequently derail him from fulfilling his vision.
I know the dreams and vision associated with my life. However, before now, I hadn't seriously considered writing my vision and I certainly haven't made it plain. I haven't rehearsed it in my mind or out loud enough for it to be innately a part of me. Have I lost sight of what God has spoken? Do I believe my dreams will actually come to pass? Have I become my own dream killer?
When I am learning something new, let's say a scripture, I have to go over it in my mind, or out loud, several times before I have memorized it. If I want to get to the point of not stumbling over words and quoting it without thinking about it, it has to become a part of me. That takes work. However, if I understand how rich my life becomes with more and more of God's word in my life, I stick to it and rehearse it. I do it because I know the expected end - it will bless me and in turn, bless others.
With the dreams and vision God has deposited in our hearts the expected end is to bless us and to bless others. Joseph's ascent to power did bless him. But it also blessed countless families, including his father's household, from starving to death during the seven years of famine.
If we understand that our dreams are for others as well, perhaps we won't allow ourselves to become lackadaisical about keeping those dreams before us at all times.
If you are breathing - it is not too late.
Too much time has not passed you by.
You are not too old. I will tell my daughter she is not too young.
Our visions can still be fulfilled.
I have come to the realization that at times I am my own worst enemy. But I am determined to become my biggest cheerleader. If God has put it in me, I will not hinder it coming out of me.
I will write it.
I will say it.
I will think it.
I will become it.
I. Will. Not. Perish.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish ... " (Proverbs 29:18a KJV)
Just Around the Corner,