Our current sermon series is following the Old Testament Character of Joseph and it is entitled: From the Coat of Many Colors to Saving the World. Joseph is a character we don't consider often enough. He is one of the most important characters in the Old Testament. He went from being a kid with a big ego to a man with a big role in saving the world. His journey from idealist to hero is a rocky one and it has many detours along the way. Eventually, after Joseph over-comes an incredible amount of false accusations, hardships, and prison time, he rises to power and ends up saving the whole world, including his father and his brothers and their families. The one thing that kept Joseph going through all of the bad situations he faced was the dream God placed in his heart to do great things. There is no way that Joseph could have known the hardship he would face, but he kept the dream alive no matter how bad things got.
As I was reflecting on Joseph's story, I wondered why so many bad things happened to him. To say this guy had bad luck is a tremendous understatement. It seems like no matter what happened, he always barely manages to survive the worst case scenario. Why was it so hard for Joseph? Why did so many bad things happen to him? What I learned from Joseph's story and what we will be talking about during our Sunday morning time together, is that adversity existed in Joseph's life because Satan wanted the famine to kill everyone. As we will see later in the story, the 7-year famine was so awful that no one would have been able to survive it if not for Joseph's direct intervention. The famine arrived in Joseph's life years before the rain stopped falling on the land. Because Joseph was battle hardened, when the 7 year famine started, Joseph was prepared to save the known world. Satan was trying to stop Joseph when really all he accomplished doing was making Joseph more and more resolved to do this great thing.
The moment Joseph gives up this dream of greatness the whole world dies.
God gives us dreams and aspirations for the future. We have these dreams because God wants to give us something to hang on to when life gets difficult because it inevitably will. Since God gave Joseph a particularly large dream, Satan came against him in direct proportion to the dream Joseph had. Since Joseph's dream was so very large, the Enemy's response had to be proportionally large.
Hard times are not fun. While that is not a particularly insightful or enlightening or even encouraging sentence, it is accurate. Nevertheless, what I want to invite you to consider is what those hard times mean. The only reason that Joseph went through as much adversity as he did was that God was planning great things through him that Satan did not want to happen. That very opposition that you face may be because God has greatness in store for you. Could it be the trials you face are confirmation God is going to make something great happen through you?
However, just like Joseph, the challenging times in our lives have to run their course. It was the very challenges that he faced that prepared Joseph to step into the greatness God had planned. I don't know where your challenge is, I don't know where your adversity comes from, but I want to use these weeks that we will spend with Joseph to see just what God may be dreaming for you. Who knows, maybe the world is going to need to be saved from a threat and God is preparing you for a pivotal role in responding to that threat. All I know is that when we first meet Joseph, he is a spoiled rich boy who tattle tails on his brothers and annoys people with his high ideas about himself. That doesn't sound like a candidate for someone who eventually saves the world, but Joseph does. His story, found in the second half of the book of Genesis, is a story about the purpose of adversity and how to grow while enduring it. This is how heroes are made.
My prayer for you is that you will see through the adversity you face in the moment to the greatness God has in store. It isn't easy, but it is the only way to keep the dream alive long enough for the dream to come true.