Al Earley | God’s will in the midst of shattered dreams

Published 1:26 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Do you have any shattered dreams? It’s true that we can find answers to all of life’s most difficult questions in the Bible. No one knows more about shattered dreams than Joseph, whose story can be found in Genesis 37-50. As a boy, God gave him grand dreams of being a great leader, even over his family.

Illusions of grandeur were what his brothers saw in Joseph’s dreams, and that is when life began to shatter. His brothers sold him into slavery, and he was carted off to Egypt where he became Potiphar’s slave. As he is rising in responsibility in Potiphar’s home, his master’s wife falsely accuses him of attempted rape, shattering dreams further as he is carted off to prison. There are more shattered dreams when the baker forgot Joseph’s interpretation of his dream and was elevated back into Pharaoh’s court but did nothing to help Joseph. How bad are your shattered dreams compared to being sold into slavery by your brothers, accused falsely of rape, and thrown into a squalid prison, forgotten by all?  

     We see the power of faith in God when Joseph is elevated to the leader of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. We see an amazing example of trust in God when Joseph has the opportunity to exact revenge on his brothers, but instead he forgives them, stating, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Genesis 45:4-5).

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Do you think you can trust God enough to look back on your shattered dreams as the hand of God at work to do good in your life as well as the people around you?  That is what God promises over and over again throughout the Bible. We live in a fallen world where sin, death and evil are very real. Life is hard, and it is not fair, and there is nothing we can do to change that until God establishes the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. So while we wait for that great day, God has many amazing promises. One is revealed in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Not all things work together for good unless we love God. That is the key. That is what Joseph believed, and found was true, and that is the truth of life.

There are so many examples of people who have endured great loss and shattered dreams, but through faith they have found not only healing, but their greatest life’s work. I know a rape victim who became an amazing counselor to other rape victims.  Many of the laws that help to save people’s lives grow out of tragedies that people don’t want to see repeated, and so, through faith, they work hard for change. 

My favorite story of God bringing miracles out of shattered dreams happened in the lives of a missionary couple to a Muslim nation. After 35 years of selfless service, and nearing retirement, the husband was martyred by some terrorists.

His wife’s shattered dreams of a peaceful life in retirement were painful beyond belief. As she turned to God for healing, God called her to tell her stories on the mission field to the world. For years, she has traveled all over the world inspiring a new generation of missionaries to serve the Lord. 

Throughout this article, I have raised many questions for you to consider. I ask them again, trusting that you will turn to God for your answers. Do you have any shattered dreams? How bad are your shattered dreams compared to Joseph’s? Do you think you can trust God enough to look back on your shattered dreams as the hand of God at work to do good in your life as well as the people around you? 

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