this resurrection Life you’ve received from
God isn’t a timid, grave-tending life.
It’s adventurously expectant, greeting
God with a childlike, “what’s next, Papa?”
| Romans 8:15 MSG |
Deadlines and job decisions and forked roads grow even the wonder-struck up all kinds of fast. I’m right in the middle of the very season I wished for, somehow blind to the mystery of the here and now because I’m caught up in the there and the next. I’m staring bucket-list dreams in the face, whiny because my excitable little heart beats fast about more than one! So I’ve run to grownup opinions and scribbled a fear versus excitement chart, pretending it’s friendlier than a padfolio of pros and cons. I’ve weighed the options and calculated the risks, so overwhelmed I drove all the way home to just be a daughter at the dinner table. I forgot to sit with my Abba. I forgot that I don’t run this whole thing, that His word is alive and active, that this resurrection life He handed me free isn’t of timidity or paralysis or risk-calculating. I forgot that He’s a good good dad–but like always, I stumble back to the spot at His feet. I’m forever welcome there.
And just when I sit still enough to listen:
“Here comes that dreamer,” scoffed these so-called brothers, quick to ridicule his wild outside-the-lines thinking. Joseph, the daydreamer, marked by colorful dreams and colorful threads—they called him crazy. There’s just no way he’s going places, no way he’s made for more than a life our kind of ordinary. They dreamed too—ugly stuff like rage turned revenge, like this dreamer brother left dead, like Joseph never even existed. Struck by just cowardice and comparison, they stripped the rainbow robe to pieces and set him stuck in a cistern. They couldn’t finish him off—not a speck of brave in them. So they handed him off easy to the Midianites, shackled a nobody to new somebodies—and fooled his father thinking he really was left dead. This father, who stripped himself of glory attire and wept and rejected every comfort attempt, claimed he too was better off left dead. Taking Joseph, they took pieces of dad too. You can’t take my daydreamer. You can’t take all my color. Meanwhile, Joseph resisted not, was sold from right there to the slavery big leagues, winding up least of these under Pharoah’s ranks. His shackles didn’t slow him, the future’s uncertainty didn’t steal faith from him. Still he dreamed of better days and the God who’d write them. Bound below Potiphar, he labored lots and expelled rebel lusts and never ever stopped chasing after righteousness—through it all, His God never left him.
Wrongly accused, his next chapter said prison. And Joseph resisted not. Still, the Lord had gone with—handing Joseph favor in the eyes of the prison warden and company. Bound behind bars, he obeyed always and was entrusted with much and never ever stopped chasing after righteousness—through it all, His God never left him. Moving forward, upward, stacking doubt and mockery and mistreatment like ladder rungs well beneath his feet. Even Pharaoh himself showed favor on Joseph, raving about him to all the people. “Can we find anyone like this man? One in whom the spirit of God is this alive?” So Joseph rose from rags to royalty, and his well-tended, Pharoah-entrusted land reaped plentiful harvest—they stopped keeping records, it was beyond measure! Rescued the hungry, and baskets leftover. Still He moved forward, upward.
Lots of just Joseph-and-Jesus time made him well aware of their intertwining. He spotted the Lord’s presence despite shifting setting, refused to set Him aside. He trudged through it all; through it all, he trusted. He went—valiantly—in every direction the Lord sent him. He knew no chains, no authority could keep his God away. I think God sends the Josephs through the wringer, to prove to faith-light readers He’ll never ever up and leave. It says it right there, debateably too much—far from subtle so the audience can’t miss it. His God never left him. His God went before him, behind him. The God of Joseph is still mine, and goes before me, behind me. He never left him, or me. He won’t lead us where He doesn’t also go.
I like Joseph. He dreams big, won’t let the noise of opinions turn colorful dreams ordinary grey. He’s a runner—chasing dreams, Jesus, righteousness. He refuses to fold his cards or live life cautious. He’s palms up, obedient and uninhibited, not even a blink of resistance. I’ll bet he woke up wide-eyed, adventurously expectant with a childlike, “what’s next, Papa?” That line on repeat, the one swearing his God never left him? He’s sure of it, and he’s brave because of it. He’s driven by the always-company of the God that doesn’t forget us or move too fast for tiny feet. He dreams because playing same-team with the God that goes with, no dream is too risky or too lonely or too wild. His God never ever left him. And Joseph was way aware of Him there.
This season, I want to be a Joseph. To pull big dreams out of backpockets and lose sleep over plan B’s later. To choose not to settle down cautious in His shadow—protected, timid, safe so never sorry. I want to be a Joseph. To reject fear and each chance to fold my hand of cards. To spend every day chasing my Jesus, as what isn’t of Him falls right off of me, as He whittles away at Layne until she’s straight righteousness. I want to be a Joseph. To sacrifice what’s safe because surely the jump holds more good stuff than the what if’s. To continue coloring these outside-the-lines dreams, racing through the shackles and the cells and past the play-safers calling me outright crazy. Holding these palms up.
I’m all set. First step? I’m saying a brave yes! yes! yes! to chase the adventure whose left-field shine caught my eye. No fine-print details or back-up plan–but it’s a Layne dream, and it’s surely outside the lines. Palms up: because I’m trailing behind the always-company. He’s running fast in that direction, and I’m tripping over joy to catch up and keep up. My Guide goes before and behind, endures with me, doesn’t move too fast for Layne feet. I can see Him–he’s got His palms up too. He’s always had them that way.
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You. Teach me to choose faith when fear’s screaming a whole lot louder. My God, we’re a forever-after tag-team. Keep prying these hands wide open. I’m just a few steps behind, J. Stretch this offering far and wide. Just surprise me!