‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’ Genesis 50:20
When we think of leadership development, we think often in terms of ‘courses’, we think about a strategy that will help develop skills, and often they do, but, what if the way God develops leaders is actually found in the way of the obscure; where pain and suffering, are amongst the hurdles that develop leaders whose hearts are totally turn to the Lord. Could it be these are the leaders that are paused to emerge to lead the movement of God in the days ahead? The biblical narrative reveals this: Joseph emerged in the midst of a national crisis, positioned by God, hidden in the ordinary, daily events that had become his life in Egypt.
Little did Joseph know when he shared his dreams with his family the jealousy and anger that would arise in his brothers hearts. Sometimes we can assume that Joseph was filled with prideful naivety in sharing his dreams with his family, but perhaps what is actually revealed, is the heart of his brothers so filled with arrogance and selfish ambition that they couldn’t honour their own brother?
When Joseph shared his dream he had no idea he was about to be repositioned for God’s purposes.
I’m sure Joseph’s dreams didn’t look so appealing when in a hole dug by his brothers, accused of sexual advances on his employers’ wife, thrown into prison only to be forgotten. I’m not sure in prison he was devising a strategic framework for a 14-year period for a coming famine or thought, when interpreting dreams for a baker or cupbearer in prison, that those interpretations would in fact become the key that would position him beside Pharoah where eventually he’d see his family again.
Joseph lived on the obscure path, humbled and faithful every step of the way. Years of being hidden, forgotten, abandoned and rejected. Yet confronted by his brothers he calmly announces, ‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’ The path had the potential of leaving him bitter, vengeful and angry. Yet it didn’t, instead Joseph allowed the path to draw him closer to God. The path had enabled him to be shaped into the man God could entrust in the middle of a national crisis to save His chosen people. On the path, he’d learnt to trust God, he’d learnt to hear God, he’d learnt to follow God.
Could it be that for some reading this you had a dream and then you entered the obscure path, a path with many hurdles, a path of trails and pain. However, it’s been on this path that Father God has walked with you, shaping your character into the man or woman that he can entrust with his heart.
As we leave 2020 still in the midst of a national crisis, I wonder if we are standing on the brink of 2021 when the Joseph’s will emerge?
So, for those indviduals and families in this moment, don’t doubt what you know. Don’t give up! God has not forgotten or abandoned you. You’re being shaped on the obscure path. Don’t worry if those around you don’t get it yet, or haven’t asked – in God’s time He will release it.
Learn from Joseph, he faithfully did what was in front of him daily, and then one day some men came asking for rations. Joseph’s heart soft, turned and feed them. He’d released God’s strategy, a 14 year famine relief plan. Saving the nation from the starvation. The nation chosen to carry the promise of Jesus – Saviour of the world.
Father, help me to be faithful to what is in front of me today. If because of the path I’m on, any bitterness, resentment or anger has become attached to me, I chose today to release them to You. Walk me into full freedom, keep my heart soft. Keep my eyes fixed on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.