All That I Am
As I was reading Genesis 37-46 this morning I see similarities between Joseph’s life and mine. Well, minus the interpretations of dreams, being thrown into a pit, sold into real slavery, taken to another country, falsely accused, being given reign over the prison, being released from prison, and then being raised to vice president of the country. Other than that, our lives are a LOT like each other’s.
The thing that strikes me as the most astounding thing about Joseph is the lack of complaining that you hear from him. In his early life there was a very real display of the spoiled little rich kid that was daddy’s favorite. But once he was sold into slavery somehow there was a change in his life. Was it while he was in the pit waiting for release that the change happened or was it as he was drug away as a slave boy (probably beaten and dejected) to a foreign land? Was it-standing in the slave market of Egypt virtually naked and alone? Somewhere in the span of about thirty days a change happened in Joseph that was profound.
You see Joseph could have started down the "poor me" road. He could have gone into depression. He could have contemplated suicide. But he didn’t. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, a transformation came over him and he was transformed from the spoiled, tattle-tale to the ambassador that we know him to be. Read the story. It is only a few chapters long. Up until the time that he shows up in Potipher’s house he was a spoiled, dreamer that was hated by his brothers but cherished by his dad.
Here is what I think. I believe that sometime during the whole ordeal, he and God had a few conversations. I think that there were a lot of tears, some complaining, some revelations, and some reminders. I think that God revealed Himself to Joseph during this time and when he ended up in Egypt there was a new purpose in his heart to serve God with everything that he had, all that he was, and in any and every circumstance that he was in.
There’s song by Chris Tomlin the words of which roll over and over in my mind. They go something like, "All my hopes, all my fears, held in your hands… All my dreams, all my plans, held in your hands." As I prepare for my fifth parole hearing after serving almost 35 years imprison I have to ask if this is really true for my life. Have I really surrendered every single hope that I have to the sovereign ruler of creation? I mean, I hope that I can one day be released from prison, have a viable job, and a family. There is this "what if..." that casts doubt on that when I go to lay it at God’s feet though.
What about my fears? Fear of failure, fear of being alone, spiders, heights, flying, etc. Is 2 Timothy 1:7 true where it says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of love, power, and a sound mind?
What about my dreams? I am not just thinking about my dreams of being a successful writer but the things that are in my dreams when I let my mind wander and the ones at night.
What about my plans? When I make decisions concerning my life (even the simple ones) do I include God in them. I do not get to choose what I wear most of the time. I wear green clothes every day so green will not be one of the colors in my closet when I get out of prison. But, could I even include God in my decision of how to dress?
There is a scripture that I have taped to my door. You might think that this is a little weird, but any one that really knows me, knows that I am a little weird. The Scripture is Colossians 3:1-2a. The New American Standard Bible reads, "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above." That isn't rea1ly weird, right? Well, the weird part is that I have it in Greek, the way the original Scripture was written, and it reads like this in a literal way: "if then you were raised with Christ, the things above seek where Christ is, at the right hand of God is sitting, the things above think about constantly."
I think that Joseph came to the same realization that Mr. Tomlin sings about and that I am trying to learn and live.
God is on His throne.
He is still in control.
If I want to be effective here on earth I need to be so heavenly minded that I am some earthly good.
I pray your passion burns the same way.