Imagine having a dream of future greatness and blessings in your youth. Imagine the excitement and anticipation you would feel at the memory of such a dream. What would you do if your life took a turn for the worse and the dream seemed as though it were a cruel illusion? The story of Joseph is the journey of faith. It is a faith refined, stretched and transformed into a great testimony of the faithfulness of God. It is a story of the Long Journey Travelled.
The main characters in this story are Joseph, his brothers, and their father Jacob (also known as Israel). Joseph held a special place in his father's heart. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age," Genesis 37:3. His brothers were envious of him. God gave Joseph two dreams which he told to his brothers. "There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around bowed down to my sheaf," Genesis 37:7 ; "The sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me," Genesis 37:9.
Joseph's brothers, blind with envy, sold him to slave traders. He became a slave in Egypt. His journey was wrought with pain, rejection, deception and hope. He became the chief overseer of Potiphar's house because he resigned himself to do the best in his current situation as a slave in his home. He held onto his beliefs in the God of his forefathers and rejected the advances of Potiphar's wife. He was falsely accused and cast into prison for many years. Yet when the Lord gave him the interpretation of the butler and baker's dreams, he told them in faith. Eventually Pharaoh had a dream and Joseph was brought to interpret it. Joseph became the most powerful man in Egypt as result, second only to Pharaoh. He prepared the land to survive the impending famine that Pharaoh's dream foretold.
When the brothers who betrayed him came to bow down at his feet to seek food, a gamut of emotions washed over him, yet Joseph was able to say, "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here: for God sent me before you to preserve life," Genesis 45:5. "So now it was not you who sent me here but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt," Genesis 45:8. Jacob was so overwhelmed with the news that his favourite son was not dead but in fact alive that when his sons told him the truth about Joseph, "Jacob's heart stood still, because he did not believe them," Genesis 45:26.
Imagine the journey each man travelled. Despite the unexpected twists and turns, God's promise remained constant. God's blessing came in like a mighty flood, washing over all the pain of the past. As it was with Joseph, so it is with us. God has promised us eternal life through Jesus Christ, so let us travel the long journey ahead in hope and faith. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal,"
2 Corinthians 4:16-18.