Joseph Had No Kingdom

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2009

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Pleasers, Principle of Increase, Waiting

(Reconciling Your Dreams with God’s Plan)

conflictOnce upon a time, a young man had a dream – a prophetic dream.  He dreamed that he had two homes, his own boat, and would travel internationally and be a blessing to many people.  This could only mean one thing!  Obviously God was calling him into the business world, where he would make a lot of money and use his wealth to make the world a better place. 

After seeking some counsel and getting confirmation that he was headed in the right direction, he changed his college major to business and prepared for a life of benevolent wealth management.

 Then he met her.  And he was smitten.  Her beauty.  Her nutty sense of humor.  The fire that seemed to burn in her soul.  And again, he had a dream.  In this dream, he offered $100.00 for an acre of land.  The seller agreed, but then this amazing woman appeared by the man’s side.  “Because she is your partner,” the seller said, “I will sell you ten acres for $100.00.”  This could only mean one thing!  She would become his wife, and they would take on the world as a team.

Just one small problem.  She had already given her commitment to Another.  And no one – not even the man she loved – would keep her from God’s call on her life to tell the world about Jesus.

What do you do when dreams collide?  What do you do when your dreams conflict with reality?  When they’re ambushed by selfish or jealous or resentful or addicted people?  How do you handle it when the people you love most diss your dreams?

Some people decide to give up on their dreams.  Others go back to the source, and decide that somehow they missed God (one of my favorite phrases:  “maybe it was just bad pizza”).  Still others sacrifice their character and even the people they love most in order to pursue what they envision.  Some people seek safety in pleasing others, and stuff their dreams in the closet of their hearts.  Still others lose their dreams amid the grind of making a living or getting to the next meeting.

Maybe there’s another way.

The Bible tells a gripping story about the life of such a dreamer – a Daddy’s favorite named Joseph.  Reeling from the death of his mother, hated by his jealous brothers, Joseph found refuge in his relationship with God.  And God, in turn, gave him a unique gift – the ability to see the future in his dreams.  Joseph had not one, but two dreams that suggested his father and brothers would one day bow to him.  That could only mean one thing, right?  Joseph was destined to reign!  Either through extraordinary wealth or political clout, Joseph would be The Dude.

 You can imagine how this went over at the next meeting of the Joseph-Haters Club.

The Odyssey

What followed was one of the most extraordinary odysseys ever experienced.  How’s this for a linear career path? 

  • Sold into slavery to a pack of foreigners.
  • Resold to a pagan prison captain.
  • A conduit of prosperity for everybody else he worked for, but never for himself.
  • Seduced by the captain’s very beautiful (or very ugly – oooh) wife.
  • Falsely accused by you-know-who for doing the right thing.
  • Imprisoned under the authority of guess-who.
  • Watching other people – people he helped – see the fulfillment of their dreams.
  • Wasting away in virtual isolation for 13 years.

From there it was a Cinder-fella story – from the outhouse to the White House.  But even there, Joseph was a servant in somebody else’s kingdom

mazeThe Map

Here was a man who never owned anything or had ultimate authority over anyone.  Throughout his career, he was always second fiddle to somebody.  And yet God moved him to bring enormous wealth to others, and to save not one, but at least two nations.  Oh, and that dream he had?  It happened, just as the Lord had said.  But not on the pathway Joseph had once envisioned.

What if Joseph had given up on his dream and died a cynical old man?  What if he had come to resent the unique ways he was gifted and refused to operate in his gifts?  What if he had compromised his character to focus on short-term desire?  What if he had ruthlessly pursued his brother-bowing agenda, believing he was doing God a favor in the process?  For every one of these questions, I can give you names of people who did that, and can show you where the bodies are buried.

Sometimes we confuse our God-given dreams with the methods by which God brings it to pass.  When God gives you a vision, He doesn’t always give you a map!  Often He keeps that for Himself, and asks you to trust Him, one day – one step – at a time.  Is it worth it?  I think you know the answer to that.

The Drawer of Mystery

Back to the dreamer-in-love.  Know what he did?  He followed his heart.  His sense of God’s call to missions aligned with hers, and they were married.  And what of his original dream?  He placed it in the Drawer of Mystery in his heart.  Maybe he’d misunderstood.  Maybe it was just a weird dream, and not God at all.  Maybe it was for another time.

A few years later, as the man and his wife served together among unreached tribes in the jungles of Columbia he made a startling discovery.  He had two homes and a boat, travelled internationally, and was a blessing to many people. 

His two homes – a palm-thatched dwelling he’d purchased for $125.00 and a shared missionary house in a nearby city. 

His boat – a carved-out canoe to get him up and down the river.

Travel – throughout the Western hemisphere. 

His dreams – all fulfilled.  God just used a different map to get him there.

He may do the same with you.  Maybe it’s time to pray open that Drawer of Mystery and check out those old dreams again. 

Or maybe it’s time to ask God for new ones.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Hickey November 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm


I enjoy your writing very much.

A friend asked me what my dream was for my life. I said….I don’t know.
She asked if I had dreams when I was little about what I would do when I grew up. I said….no.
She asked what my dreams were for my future. I had no answer.
She challenged me to search my heart and find God’s dream for me.

WOW…where to start. Any suggestions?

Andy Wood November 10, 2010 at 10:48 am

Hi Mary! Good to hear from you.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I would say the first step in finding God’s dream for us is to believe He actually has one… that we are precious to Him and uniquely loved and called to fulfill a compelling purpose.

Beyond that, I would encourage you to explore what it is that you have in common with every other believer. Often God’s dream for us has to do with His dream for every other Christ-follower.

THEN – explore what makes you unique. Your unique skills, loves, live experiences, passions. Do NOT fall into the trap of evaluating or analyzing them – or of assuming they aren’t all that interesting or valuable. Let God determine their value.

Also, I would encourage you to consider that many of the most compelling dreams that people had were discovered way past childhood. I once heard that Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 80s. And Colonel Sanders was 65 when his chicken recipe and process first caught on.

I once captured a dream or two when somebody asked me to write my epitaph and gave me 15 minutes to do it. I was done in five. And it showed me where some of my most cherished dreams and values were. (I’ve written about that here if you want to search “epitaph.”

Hope that helps.

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