Chapter 3 / Trading in Your Dreams for Another’s
I had a few dreams as a kid. My number one dream was to play footy for Collingwood. As a 15 year old, I was doing ok, playing in the district representative teams and making my way as a rugged full back who didn’t allow goals kicked on him and wasn’t afraid to attack at all costs! I always was awarded the defensive player of the year trophy and it got me onto the U16 Victorian Schoolboys squad of 120 kids from around Victoria. It was a bit like a Survivor show really because each week after training and simulated matches, the squad was read out and if your name wasn’t read out, you were not coming back the next week. This happened week after week until the final squad of 32 was formed. And week after week, my name was called. We were down to the final 40 kids, all keen to be in that next squad because it was in this squad that you played against other states and the AFL scouts would be there to look at you. However, in this final training before cutting the squad to 32, the coaches decided to switch everyone around in their positions. I ended up playing a forward flank – which I had never played. Needless to say, I didn’t do as well as I did when playing full back. At the end of the training, the team was read out, and my name wasn’t on that list. I was devastated. I only played footy another 2 years and hung up the boots – mainly because of injury – but my dream was now gone!
But one dream leaves, another comes up… I wont tell you my new dream of touring the world in a famous band!
But we all have unrealized dreams don’t we? Some don’t make it very far with their aspirations, having already given them up somewhere along the way. Some run into conflict that makes them weary and they settle for less. Still others make bold decisions to trade one dream in for another.
That’s what Joseph did. Talk about dreams! He had some big ones. At seventeen he dreamed his ten older brothers would bow down to him. It’s enough he dreamed that dream. What makes it worse is that he told his brothers about it.
The older brothers already had issues with the younger son. Their father favored Joseph. He had even given him a valuable, multi-colored coat. That’s the modern-day equivalent of a parent of four teenagers giving one an iPhone and the other three a call card to use at the few phone booths that are left!! The brothers banded together and tossed the dreamer in a ditch, eventually selling him into slavery at the first opportunity. The next thing Joseph knew he was waking up in Egypt.
From there his life was a rollercoaster thrill ride. One minute a slave. The next in charge of an Egyptian official’s house. The next in prison. The next in charge of the prison. Then he found himself in front of Pharaoh, called upon to interpret the leader’s dreams. With God’s help he was able to warn Pharaoh he would have seven years of abundant crops that he should be put in storehouses in anticipation of seven years of famine. Recognizing his wisdom, Pharaoh put Joseph second in command of all of Egypt.
And because of God’s personal involvement in his life, he was able to save his family. The same family that God was building into a nation. Joseph was in position to bring his family to Egypt and give them the most fertile land to work. And it was definitely fertile. In the time they were there they were “fruitful and increased greatly” (Exodus 1:7).
Joseph could have lost his life getting caught up in the details of his life, chasing his dreams and desires. Instead, he chose a better story. God’s story.
You can do the same. If your life’s dream has stalled, look to God. If your dream now realized is not all you thought it would be, look to God. He can give you another dream. A better one, not according to the world’s standard but God’s criterion. Just like Joseph’s. Then you’ll have a story to tell.
I may not become an AFL star (well that ship has long sailed), I may not play in a world famous band, but I can strive to be God’s mouthpiece right here – and who knows what other exciting things God may have in store for me – and for you!
Take Courage in God’s Story!