Joseph: King of Dreams — Why There’s Some Hope Beyond What We Can See
What can be taken out of the story of Joseph? In 2000, an artistic rendition of the biblical story of Joseph projected on television screens, titled Joseph: King of Dreams (written by Raymond Singer and his wife, Eugenia; directed by Rob LaDuca and Robert Ramirez). The animated classic showcases the story of a “miracle child” born from the line of Jacob, who was betrayed by his jealous brothers to no fault of his own (being heavily favored by his father and being gifted with symbolic visions). Thusly, he was thrown into Egyptian slavery only to be put in a tug of war between God’s providence and the choices others and even himself made. First, he was a slave, but God was with him and showed Potiphar that success was with Joseph. This led to Joseph becoming his head attendant. Then, Potiphar’s scandalous wife demanded that Joseph “warm her bed”; Joseph denied the idea to dishonor the master who’d been good to him. For this, he ended up wrongfully being put into prison.
Whatever the differences of details that may have been changed for cinematic satisfaction, the base facts remain the same — Joseph had found himself in a position he had not wanted — one that left him confined to only a small amount of freedom.
Such is the situation many of us find ourselves in now. “Oh God, why are you doing this to me?” he pleaded. He climbed the rock wall, demanding answers from God. Then he slipped and fell. Rock bottom.
That rock bottom is America now. Or it’s what it has been as of late. We’ve found ourselves in a seemingly unceasing War on Truth — the stuff we’ve seen outside in the world is the stuff of apocalyptic movies. Defaced statues, rioting gone rampant, police officers and citizens turning to physical violence. It’s easy for us to see the news and connect our minds to the moving images of 2012, World War Z, and Messiah. It looks grim out there.
What is hope? Merriam Webster dictionary defines hope as “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment”. If the world is purely material and nothing but, I would posit that there’s no such thing as hope. And yet, common household names such as “love” and “hope” are commonly accepted. And no one uses these terms in regards to a wife or a husband or a job opportunity and uses them in regards to “a collection of neurons”, within all practicality.
I would posit that without a base example of love and hope that has sat square in the face of “Prehistoric World”, that’s carried itself throughout the spans of each and every generation, these ideas would be put in the same bin as cobwebbed concepts like unicorns. And yet, we find ourselves in a world that consistently and blatantly uses these concepts in regular life. I’m sure someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God (whatever connotation that might spawn) may have some sort of conjecture to provide. For the sake of the continuation of this article, however, this article will continue on the basis that the most reasonable and likely culprit for the plain existence of these concepts is God. And in a situation as such as the one we as Americans find ourselves in, this article will continue in that truly God is the only real hope we have.
Much of this is, indeed, faith-based, but it is the hope of the author (that’s me) that some extent of logic can be digested.
Joseph woke up the next idea and saw the broken tree and did his best to mend the minor destruction his anger accidentally wrought. Cue the music — Better Than I by David Campbell and John Bucchino (sung rather powerfully and gloriously if I might add):
You know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go the need to know why
For you know better than I
If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing I don’t know
Is part of getting through
If God exists; if God has personhood and discernment and mercy; and if we know our biblical history, we can trust that God knows the way and is directing the way — one path or another. It is one thing to be a theater actor and hope his/her mom or dad will show up — based on the goodness of the parent’s character. Or it is one thing to hope that the teacher will see the incredible amount of work he/she has put into and give that student a solid grade. But when America is a geographical map of a pile of chaotic, flaming crap — when a situation is outside any person’s control — the only tangible source of hope we have is in God. (Yes, not even Trump can navigate the world’s circumstances as well as God.)
And you know something? Joseph came to have faith in God. He came to have trust in Him because he knew who He was, just how we can trust a best friend or a father because we know who he or she is. He became humble and built his foundation on the Rock. And because his roots were found in that, prosperity grew out of that and it flourished under the sun.
Moreover, in the past, God has dealt with rebellious nations. The Israelite people under Moses grumbled and complained and revolted against God for taking them out of their captivity. They built up a golden calf and decided to worship that instead, in spite of the manna and the quail and the parting of the Red Sea that he had given to His people. In the days of Samuel, the people flat-out rejected God’s position as king and demanded for a human king, in spite of His warnings as to what would happen. Yet, God was merciful to those who would accept it and imparted justice unto those who deserved it.
As for the United States of America itself, it has faced World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis. While it’s easy for us to look into our wrinkled history textbooks and see the outcomes, in both of these cases, the country survived in the face of what was then the unknown and prospered thereafter. Safety came; people celebrated; the economy boomed.
There is reason to have hope. Nothing is guaranteed, that’s for sure. But tensions rise, they climax, and they descend. To the reader reading this, surely there are times in your own life to which this holds true. And tensions have been deflating as of late. The rioting has decreased significantly; the memorials not pulled down are being cleaned; and the failed “country of Chaz” is now deceased. Destruction and anarchy and chaos are decreasing. We are not out of the woods yet — the chaos scale may show a few small jagged ends as tensions cushion — but it is my hope and prayer that to anyone who reads this will have found some reason for a pocketful of hope to flower a little.
God bless, God first,