Genesis 37: 16 – 20 “And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (Genesis 37: 16 – 20)
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
“Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17]
A few days ago, while hospitalized, I watched a couple of documentaries on the surprising emergence of Susan Boyle. Judged by outward appearances, she looked like the deck was stacked against her from the start.
She was obviously very shy. Not really very attractive. Not young. Unknown and to all appearances out of her element. Completely and embarrassingly so. Even I felt uneasy for her, afraid she might humiliate herself or trigger a cruel avalanche of boos and hisses.
The crowd, including a cynical “judge” gasped in amazement, though, as the first notes of her song were heard. Jaws dropped. It was that obvious.
One thing that most of us would have failed to take into account in this kind of situation is that lady, Susan Boyle, had a dream. In addition to talent which had lain undiscovered, unnoticed for more than four decades, she had a dream. That was what made the difference. That was what enabled her to overcome her reluctance. Overcome her fears. Stand up against the naysayers. That is the extra factor that enabled her to stand strong in the face of almost certain scorn and humiliating, brutally embarrassing failure.
If she had bolted off the stage before the first note, I’d have felt sorry for her. I could almost see her at the last, weeping, rushing for the exit, hiding her face and nursing her sorrow and embarrassment for perhaps the rest of her days. But she had a dream. And she refused to let the dream die!
Even her song selection, “I dreamed a dream” from the successful production, “Les Miserable,” was a dead giveaway. She seemed inspired. Gripped. Driven. Confident. Invincible almost. In a word, she “knocked the audience back on its heels” with the power and haunting beauty of that incredible voice.
Most folks who’ve read anything I’ve written over the last several months know the simple single string I’ve strummed is the Scriptural study of people who were considered defeated, useless, human rubbish even. I’ve focused my attention as intensely as I’m capable on why they failed or were apparently ignored and beaten down by life. And how they were able to recover and become great leaders.
Joseph, for example, had a dream in his youth that was fulfilled in his later life. He was ridiculed because of the dream, but he held fast to it. Remember his resentful brothers out on the dessert that afternoon so long ago and so far away: “Behold, the dreamer comes” they spat his name out on the desert sand with bitter resentment when they saw him coming with their lunch. Joseph suffered great consequences because of that dream, but when you see him you can ask him yourself if it were worth the cost. He never forgot that dream, and that was certainly one of the things which sustained him when he could very easily have died in despair and been forgotten by history.
This is something to which I’ve devoted a great deal of thought lately. There’s a statement in Scripture which you could easily overlook if you read casually. “In the last days, your young men shall see visions, dream dreams.” (Joel 2:28).
I’ve read a lot of stuff in my life about people who did not stand a ghost of a chance. It feels as if I’m sort of on a mission now to discover as many of these folks as I can, and LEARN from them. Look at history. Look at Scripture. See how many you can find who succeeded mainly because they had a dream and would not be denied. Susan Boyle is just one beautiful example.
Based on my own experience and observation, I’m guessing that someone somewhere someday will read these words and remember. You once had a dream. There was a time and a place when it seemed that God was more real to you than anything. The fact that you couldn’t explain it does not mean it was not real. If your mind is open, even now you can recover that dream and never let it die!
Susan Boyle had a dream. A vision, not of what she was but of what she could do and become. Joseph did. Edison did. Winston Churchill did. Steve Jobs did. Martin Luther King did.