“Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into a deep pit . We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what becomes of all his dreams!”
Genesis 37:20 NLT
In this season when we remember one of this country’s great dreamers — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — it is good to be encouraged and refocused on God’s dream and plan for our own lives.
Joseph was the dreaming son of the patriarch Jacob who himself had the same gift. This young dreamer, as with Dr. King, gave us inspiration to keep dreaming in spite of circumstances.
There are some things to remember about God’s plan — your dream — for your life that may prove helpful.
The first is that God is the source of your dream. Just as God inspired Joseph with a dream — a vision, a plan — for his life, God will do the same for you.
God places the passion and drive for you to accomplish great things — God’s will — for your life within you from its beginning.
God told Jeremiah that “before I formed you I knew you and ordained you to be a prophet.” It’s already in you to fulfill God’s plan of greatness for your life.
Like Joseph, Dr. King believed that God had given him a dream: to see this country reconciled to its mean-spirited and ungodly past of merciless and brutal mistreatment of not just African-Americans, but all of the groups that had been oppressed. That’s a tall order. But like Joseph, Dr. King and indeed you and I serve a big God. What God ordains, he is more than able to bring to pass.
Another important element to remember is that God’s dream — plan — for your life, doesn’t always sit well with others around you. Sometimes the greatest opposition to the successful completion of God’s purpose in your life are those who are closest to you.
Joseph’s own brothers, and even his parents, questioned Joseph’s motives when his dreams seemed to put them in a subservient position to themselves.
Joseph was young and would grow into maturity through the trials that his brothers and others put him through. This molding tempers the dreamer to have the character to walk in the calling. While your gift can open the door, you need character to keep you in the room. Don’t be afraid of opposition. God will bring to pass what has been ordained. The struggle is oftentimes for your development.
When Dr. King led protests and marches throughout the Jim Crow South, it was not popular of course with the racist powers but he often met with opposition from those who looked just like him.
Just like he overcame, so can you. One final note to consider on your journey to the fulfillment of your dream is that God will be with you through the entire journey.
At every turn in Joseph’s life, no matter what the adversity, God was with Joseph and showed him favor. Imagine the feeling of being abandoned in a pit. Imprisoned for something you did not do. But, in spite of this, God continued to watch over Joseph to bring his dream to pass.
Eventually Joseph’s dream came true. God used him to bless the very family that betrayed him and nation that wrongfully imprisoned him.
Dr. King, too, knew what it meant to feel abandoned and be imprisoned, but he continued in the struggle. One of his greatest writings still echoes to us today in his Letters from a Birmingham Jail. His staying power won him the Nobel Peace Prize and wrought great victories in the social political system of the United States.
Now long after his untimely death, his dream lives on within this world in the hearts and minds of men and women of all races, creeds and colors.
God was with Joseph and brought his dream to pass in spite of. God was with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and brought his dream to pass in spite of.
And what of Nelson Mandela, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Julian Castro and yes, Barack Obama? God will do the same for you!
Keep on dreaming in spite of. Keep on believing in spite of. Keep on doing in spite of.
Dr. William M. Campbell Jr. is pastor of Anderson Chapel AME Church in Killeen.