Joseph's faith has marked him through time as a visionary leader...a dreamer who would triumph against all odds, who seized hold of his ultimate destiny through a series of events that would require ultimate forgiveness. Sold into slavery by his jealous older brothers, he would later find himself imprisoned unjustly as he walked into a trap laid for him by his master's wife. Through years of hardship, misunderstanding and mistreatment we see Joseph latching on to the one thing that remains unchangeable; His God.
As Joseph presses hard into a radical relationship of devotion to God, we see God responding and charting his course even through disheartening years of treachery, abandonment, and finally prison. The temptor in Joseph's life was not Potipher's wife, but anger and bitterness. Joseph had to choose; God's ways or his own.
Obtaining 20/20 Vision
God requires that we lay down our own desires to follow Him. Even though anger and bitterness seem at times to be justifiable, they never are. Strong emotions that emerge during times of painful shifting in life can cloud a man's vision and effectively rob Him of the peace and abundance that God promises to us through His Word. Unforgiveness can easily lead us onto paths that God never intended for us to take.
Does your vision for the future seem to be clouded? What is behind those clouds? Is it possible that your own strong emotions have caused you to depart from the path God has prepared for you? If so, it's time to lean in to the things of God. Examine your emotions against His Word and remove the pitfalls that obscure your vision of the life He has planned for you.
Forgiveness toward others is an essential element of faith. It requires that we trust God to do what is right for us, leaving us free to be pleasers of God. Imagine the twist Joseph's life may have taken if he had not forgiven Potipher for throwing him into prison unjustly. He certainly would have missed his appointment to leadership, and abdicated his destiny to shape the history of his own people.
The Seeds of Vision
Where did Joseph find the strength to overcome his emotions after years of mistreatment and cruelty? When a man's heart is broken, he can hear God's voice a little more clearly. Perhaps that happens because our vision is so broken that we have no choice but to return to His. We're tough that way, aren't we? Too often we thrive on the thrill of conquering our dreams, leaving the dreamweaver behind in the process.
Joseph had a specific dream---a God dream so vivid that he immediately began to chase it. Within hours of awaking from this unusual night vision, he spilled it out with out stopping to weigh it, or consult the giver of the dream--God, and that's where his troubles began. Not everyone around Joseph was willing to run with him to achieve the promise--in fact, spilling the vision too early to the wrong people landed him in bondage.
Through a few years of intense testing, Joseph's vision became clear. By the time he walked out of prison his ability to hear and follow God's voice had been perfected. His dream had given way to the reality of his own limitations. The man who took his place as Pharoah's chief executive had learned that some dreams can entrap you, while others can set you free. Knowing the difference can only come through walking closely with God. The seeds of his vision were watered with tears, trials, and uncompromised faith.
Eventually those seeds would grow into a mantle of visionary leadership that would shape history.
The Rewards of Godly Vision
Joseph emerged from his trials with a character refined and shaped entirely by the God he learned to trust in the midst of his breaking. His reward came with the restoration of the family he had given up hope of ever seeing again.
In the midst of unprecidented finanacial turmoil and hardship, God prepared a refuge of abundance to all that were near and dear to Joseph's heart. He will do the same for the man who is willing to lay down his own dreams to pursue the training ground required to obtain Godly vision. It's tough, but consider the final blessing spoken over Joseph by his father:
The God of your father - may he help you!
And may The Strong God - may he give you his blessings,
Blessings tumbling out of the skies,
blessings bursting up from the Earth -
blessings of breasts and womb.
May the blessings of your father
exceed the blessings of the ancient mountains,
surpass the delights of the eternal hills;
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the one consecrated among his brothers.
Genesis 49: 22-26
Are you willing to be the one consecrated among your brothers? Are you willing to march through the training ground prepared for you by The Strong God--the God stronger and more able than you, the God who has prepared a dream for your life that requires His vision to obtain?
The handwriting is on the wall. As we read the headlines and struggle at the gas pumps, as we watch the nation sink into perilous uncertainty, God is preparing dreams, and calling up visionaries to shape history. Are you ready to answer the call?
Birdie Courtright is a freelance writer and real estate professional who enjoys sharing her faith with others through personal glimpses of God at work in her own life.