Our view of reality is limited - past, present and also future. This means that even our dreams probably lack significant elements that we simply can't see. We are typically at the center of our own story, but not at the center of God's story. Pure dreams compel us forward, but into a future that will unfold beyond what we can imagine.
We often have dreams for our lives that get side tracked by our own choices or by the circumstances that unfold around us. The result may be that we assume our dreams are lost. It may well be that things will come full circle and the dream will be realized, just not along the path we’d imagined in the beginning.
In this story of Joseph we hear his dreams and see how he responds to them by sharing unwisely and braggadociosly with his brothers, who are also objects of the dreams. They try to circumvent the unfolding future and prevent what Joseph predicts. A long and circuitous route ensues, which eventually leads Joseph to exactly the place he’d imagined he would be. Is that the only way he could have arrived at the destination of his life? Or was it rather that God was planning to work this blessing through Joseph, and willing to accommodate a variety of paths?
There are certainly things that appear to bring a complete end to our dreams. When we dream a bright future for a child who then dies, then it seems the dream has died too. And yet even then families describe that while their own child did not live into the dream, their legacy may extend the dream even beyond what had been imagined. Does this eliminate or negate the grief of loss? Certainly not. It can soften and transform it into a new kind of tender hope.
Christian writer and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada describes how as a girl she dreamed of impacting the world for Christ. Following her diving accident that left her a quadriplegic she began to have opportunities for public speaking, eventually ending up on the Johnny Carson Show. She would later talk about how God used her injury to open doors and give her a much wider audience than she could imagine having otherwise.
People have different understandings of how actively involved God may be in orchestrating the events of our lives. There seems little doubt that God can and will work in the midst of any circumstances to unfold redemption and transformation if we are open to it. As you look back on your life and the dreams you’ve had, consider how God has been, is now, and may yet be at work to fulfill dreams, bring glory to God, and bring about healing, salvation, and God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.