All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. – T. E. Lawrence
Barack Obama – It is not where you start!
The mention of this name hitherto sends a spiral of pure goosebumps in me, in a highly respectful way. Focused, charismatic, an orator, true, a fighter – a man who fiercely defends what he truly believes in, a man loyal to the sanctity of family etc. I have come to highly respect this man. A man hated with equal breath as he is loved but whose astounding, remarkable and relentless effort to rise from obscurity to become the 1st man of an African American descent to rule the United States of America will be painfully in-erasable from the books of History. Illustratively, it goes without saying that Obama never second guessed matters pertaining to family and particularly his wife. What an honorable man!
Well, people love to see the end product: polished, intricately beaming with an alluring appeal, composed, bold, successful…but what we forget is the gap and journey between the final product and the dream/ vision. Between a plan and its eventual execution when we can courageously say ‘Mission Terminé’, is the process.
What runs through your mind when you see the photos below of Barack Obama, especially the one in which he carries a sack, accompanying his grand momma to a small, open air, village market in K’Ogelo? To me, they birth a genuine testimony of true humility and love for family. Look! Aren’t we most prone to lose focus of where we are going if we keep forgetting where we’ve come from?
Ev’ry time I get to look at the photos above, the question that invades my mind is, who would have known then that young Obama would one day be the POTUS? Who would have known then that this little boy innocently smiling and resting, comfortable in the loving arms of his mother would one day be a force to reckon with? I keep looking at the mother and I wonder, does this lady really know whom she’s carrying? And the immediate warning that lingers in my mind and heart is: Be careful how you treat people! And the prayer that stealthily creeps through my lips is: Lord, teach me to see the beauty and recognize the value and worth in every single person and to view every single child as important and special.
What is the magnitude of value you attach to people?
Here comes that dreamer! The Cost.
Think about it. Isn’t it mind-boggling that dreaming, then executing the dream comes at a cost?
Genesis 37:18-19 And when they saw him from afar, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to put him to death. And they said one to another, ‘Behold there comes that dreamer!’
Genesis 37:4-5 And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, and they hated him, and could not greet him with friendliness. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and told it to his brethren, and they hated him yet the more.
I look at Joseph and I see a man who had to endure sorrow, pain and hate in inexplicable and irrational measure.
But who would have known then that one day he would rise against all odds and be appointed by God as the Governor over Egypt, 2nd in command to Pharaoh?
I look at him and I see someone hated 1. Because he was loved by the dad, & 2. Because he dreamt.
But why would one suffer ‘cos he dreamt or had a vision (something he had no total control over)?
And was Joseph justified to share his dream? What if he kept silent with it? Would it have made a positive difference?
I look at him and all I see is a man abandoned and neglected by the people he least expected would do that to him – his very own family. I see a lonely and sad man. The hate rises to an inordinately excruciating tempo such that even his appearance is such a disgust and is no longer palatable to the appetite of their sight and must be gotten rid of.
Good riddance or a blessing in disguise?
At least Joseph had his eldest brother (from a different mother), Judah who God used to save a purpose, a destiny, in that instead of killing their brother, Joseph, he proposed that he instead be sold to the Egyptian slave traders. He was therefore removed from the pit in the wilderness where he had priorly been thrown by his own brothers and sold to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces. That’s the amount of value they placed on him. Clearly!
Was it that some of them like Benjamin were too young to voice out their opinion and defend Joseph? I wonder…but we later on read in Genesis 42 that Reuben too tried to defend him, all in vain.
What captures my attention here however is that in a group of 11, only 1 person was able to rise up against him being killed, which translates to 9% support. That must have been a massive gang-up!! Think about it. Yet it only speaks of one thing to me – when a vision is from God, it must accomplish its purpose and God will raise up a Judah to defend it.
Who is your Judah in your wilderness and amidst intoxicatingly chocking opposition?
And in which camp do you belong? Are you a Judah to others?
Or are you in the camp that tirelessly works and conspires to strangle others’ dreams/ visions?
From the pit to the slave traders, to Potiphar (Pharaoh’s chamberlain)’s house, to prison (where he interprets the cupbearer and baker’s dreams). At the end of 2 full years (24 months it is! And I just don’t want to imagine what other manner of agony he had to put up with behind the scenes), he interprets Pharaoh’s dream and is appointed Governor over Egypt, 2nd in command to Pharaoh.
“Shall we find one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?”
A God-ordained purpose will never be strangled!
The story of Joseph confirms this indisputable fact.
I also love to think of King Herod who in his insecurity ordered the killing of the 1st born sons within the range of Jesus’ age, unsuccessfully trying to write him off, stubbornly trying to strangle a purpose; not knowing that the angel of the Lord had long before warned Joseph (not the son of Israel, but the son of David) to take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.
I once heard Pastor Dr. Myles Munroe preaching and he stated that:
“You can always tell when a vision is from God…it makes you look like a fool. If they believe you the first time you tell them. It’s not from God. Every vision has one believer first. If they don’t think you are crazy, it is not a vision from God yet.”
And in my utter naiveté, I thought then that that was a grand and hilarious joke!
I am the firm believer that very minimal…almost close to nothing can be achieved without: focus and unrelenting sacrifice, discipline and selflessness, faith and belief in oneself, passion and aggression, self-respect and respect for all, integrity and character. But F.O.C.U.S? Focus carries the day for me; Any time, Any minute, Any second.
The End-Product: Dream on…
LOVE overrides all negativity & opposition.
I personally love a positive end to a play or a story where the protagonist after painstakingly battling it out eventually emerges as a hero/ heroine and where the antagonists don’t get away with changing the course of the plot of the play/ story. And Joseph’s story is one of such.
I love it when all his brothers eventually meet him in Egypt and he has undergone a 360 degrees’ transformation such that to them, he undoubtedly remains incognito. The antagonists of his God-ordained purpose up to this time can’t recognize him but when he eventually reveals himself to them, fear invades their hearts, thinking that the protagonist will go on a spree of waging revenge missiles towards them. Unanticipatedly, he makes peace with them and forgives them. This love is evident when he later even informs Pharaoh of the presence of his brothers, when his father, Israel (Jacob) is also brought to Egypt and his entire family is settled in the best part of the land – the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11).
What are your dreams?
What is the God-ordained dream/ vision that you are pregnant with today?
What is the magnitude of opposition that you’re encountering? Hang in there! Rest and breath easy.
Isn’t it incomparably awesome to know and to be irrevocably convicted that no magnitude of opposition, no Potiphar’s wife, no prison has the power adequate to nullify, to change the course, to delay, to strangle or to even all together stop the manifestation of a dream/ vision that is within the confines of God’s divine will?
Dream on…dream fearlessly.