Mark continued his series on Joseph this morning in Genesis 37, looking at how Joseph continued to hold on to the dream even in a strange place. The ‘worst day of his life’ was when he was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but actually, as we saw last time, this was the start of the fulfilment of his dream – not that it must have looked like that to Joseph. Instead, he was in that strange in-between place between the old and the new, having left the security of home but not yet seeing the fulfilment of his dream, for at this point in his life, he was actually the slave having to bow down to others.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh; at this stage in his life, he was just a commodity to other people. How could this be part of God’s plan? Yet Joseph, although in a strange and scary place, was actually in the right place at the right time. Sometimes we go through strange times and places before we can see the fulfilment of God’s plan in our lives.
During this ‘in-between stage’, we often feel uncomfortable. We find it hard to keep our minds fixed on God because we cannot see how good will come of it. We might even feel as though the devil is winning the round in our lives at that time, but we need to learn the secret of singing the songs of the Lord even whilst in a foreign land. (Ps 137:1-4 TNIV) We are called to praise God in all circumstances.
When we are in these strange places, we may long for better times in the past (‘If only…’) or panic or cry or even forget the dream. Nonetheless, we need to hold on to the dream. We may feel like a house perched precariously on the edge of cliff, but actually, we are more like a tree which grows around a boulder.
Change can be very strange, but for our dreams to be fulfilled, we have to go through these strange times, secure in the fact that God is with us and is still working through every situation.