I was one of the lucky souls who got to hear a presentation today by IBM. It was truly boring, except in that they reminded us that there really is no pixie dust. No company was going to be able to make all our electronic fantasies come true by waving a magic wand. It so happens there are some things in my life these days begging for pixie dust, and there's none to be found.
I was already BlackBerry-ing about something totally unrelated to the meeting, so I could not write a post on pixie dust right at that moment. Drat! I scribbled myself a quick note about this second distraction, and went back to distracting myself with the first distraction.
As I finally get to sit down to right this post, it's second inspiration is your comments on my post about happiness versus satisfaction. They were wonderfully thought provoking. Corrective, actually. I had posted about how satisfaction is a goal to strive for, while happiness simply is not. The comments, in one way or another, each suggested that even satisfaction often eludes us through no fault of our own.
Pixie dust ain't real.
And to prove that assertion, I thought of Joseph. I was taught Joseph's story years ago, but I learned it wrongly. Here is the version I learned.
He was imprisoned for years unjustly. Within the walls of an Egyptian prison, there was no satisfaction for Joseph. He cried out to God, and nothing happened. He was innocent, and God did not defend him. He wanted to serve God, and he could not. Finally, God sent a miracle to rescue him, in the the baker and the other guy, and his rescuer forgot all about him. So, Joseph rotted for another two years.
But, at least he had his doubts to torment him.
Had he sinned against God in some way? Were his brothers justified in wanting him dead? Was his arrogance that offensive to God? Was he now rotting in this prison only because his brothers were merciful? Maybe they were even more merciful than God wished? Maybe he was only alive because God's will had been thwarted? Maybe Potiphar's wife was the handmaiden of God, sent to fill up the justice his brothers had failed to deliver.
Beneath all his doubts, though, Joseph was faithful. At the deepest core of his being, he never quite lost hope in God. When the day came that he was delivered, he learned that all his doubts were for naught. His faithfulness was given its perfect reward, and his trust in God was vindicated.
Imagine my surprise to read an almost opposite story when I went back to Genesis 39 & 40.
Was Joseph rotting in a horrid dungeon?
It surely does not sound like it. Yes, when the time comes that Joseph is brought to Pharaoh, he is pulled from a pit and shaved, but before that scene we are given a very different picture. Joseph was placed in charge of the prison while he was there. "Whatever he did," it says, "the Lord made it succeed."
Did Joseph fear that he had lost God's favor?
When the king's cupbearer and the baker are confused by their dreams, Joseph says, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me." (I love that he said, "Please," :-) These are not the words of a man living in a state of doubt as to his place before God.
Maybe there is something beyond pixie dust. Maybe satisfaction can exist in prison.
Joseph was pulled from a prison pit, but he had spent his years there in the favor of God. Are we any less loved than Joseph? Are we any less in God's favor?
Ro 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are that reward for which Christ suffered.
There is a hope in the pit. It is that we remain in the center of God's favor, even if it has not yet been revealed. It really is the time for hopeful expectation for us. He will vindicate. He will deliver. He will lift us up. His love toward us is certain, and it was revealed in Christ 2000 years ago, but soon it will be revealed in our lives, too.
And in hope, the weary knees find strength. The thought that the dawn is coming lifts up our eyes to search the horizon, and it puts some steel in our backs. The King returns soon, so we labor to be ready, and our labor is in joy.
No prison - NO prison - has befallen us, but He will deliver us.
It's not quite pixie dust, but I think I can go on with just that for comfort.