Originally published Monday, 14 April 2014.
"But, God. I had so many dreams," he said, pressing his forehead against the scratchy, concrete floor of the jail cell. His face is bruised, stained with shame. "Was I wrong about the stars bowing? And the one about the wheat stalks?"
We know this man. We call him Joseph. He wears a colorful coat, and his story begins in the book of Genesis.
His story is a story of favoritism, false accusations, jealousy, and sibling rivalry. But, most importantly, it's a story of patience while waiting for your dream to unfold. It's about being faithful and finding purpose in the twisting, winding coil of God's needle and thread.
And that's where many of us are today. Because we're close to Joseph, aren't we? We're right there in the next cell with questions about our own dreams and our own lives. We hear his fast and steady prayers and reach our battered arms to him through the rusty cell bars.
It's the most peaceful of times, it's the most chaotic of times.
That's what the twenty-something Christ-follower's life feels like. In a way, there's freedom in not having it all figured out. But there's also the unnerving, restless feeling that a life of meaninglessness is to be feared.
We call it the "quarter-life crises," but I think it reaches deeper than that. I think it's a roundabout journey we're all in together that doesn't quite make sense. We have to squint through our reading glasses to make out the words, and even then it's not clear:
Why are so many of us stuck?
This is a frustrating season we share with Joseph. Particularly if we have gifts--be it interpreting dreams, writing, singing, dancing, storytelling, filming--that we feel haven't quite taken off yet.
"But, God," we say. "You put this calling in my heart, right?"
So, why are we still slogging in this cell? Were we wrong about our dreams? Why were we betrayed? Wrongfully accused? Sold as property? Ignored by the people who we've helped along the way?
Here's the thing, though. This is what leads us out of Egypt.
This is what places us at the right-hand of Pharaoh. This is what has to happen in order for us to have a part in saving a land from famine. We're on an eternal path--whether we can see it from the inside of the story or not.
We all know this man named Joseph. We're living right beside him in the midst of big brothers, stolen and retrieved chalices, revealing our true identity, and living out our lives as a favorite of our Father.
We're dreamers. We're creators. We're all in colorful coats.
We're living in a story that is made for us. And that should be enough to push us forward. To hope for a happy ending and a greater purpose revealed.
photo credit: citx via photopin cc