22 February, 2007

Pixie Dust

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.


Milly said...

Pixie dust is in those special moments that God gives us. Look harder when you see the sun shining on the winter snow it's there. When you hear a baby trying to form it’s first word to a loving parent. I see it dancing on the edge of our love for Him.

Barbara said...

This is a really good reminder that its not where we are circumstantially, but where we are spiritually that matters. God never leaves us - even if we are in a prison of depression or illness or whatever. Good post.

Milly said...

Happiness isn’t a constant for most folks. We have moments in our lives that shake the very foundation in which we stand. Today was a half and half day for me. I woke with a head ache tried to sleep it off and hated myself for getting very little done. Tonight my husband wanted birthday steak for dinner. We ate very well and had a good time at dinner. Happy moments. We snuggled up on the sofa and watched Numb3rs together. I watched part of a Gene Kelly movie and thought about happiness. I am happy at the moment. It’s a degree of situations involved in our lives we have happiness when things are going well. Moments of happiness give us something to hold on to when our foundation is being torn from under us. Those moments are the strength that God has given us. He has put something in Milly that makes her heart fill when she sees a sunrise. Something that brings her to her knees when in pain and the ability to stand up and walk into the next day. So it’s not pixie dust, it’s more magical it’s God.

Missy said...

Codepoke, what a wonderful post! When I find myself lacking satisfaction in anticipating God's next move in my life, I will think "pixie dust" and find hope and excitement instead.

pearlie said...

Pixie dust - didn't IBM say that they will use magnetic pixie dust to enhance hard-drive capacity. So now they say no more?

Oh, Joseph's story is my childhood favourite and it still is. Many lessons there: hope, patience, endurance, faith, more patience, trust, faithfulness, love, and more.

Was Joseph rotting in a horrid dungeon?
Gen 39:20-23 And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

So, no, like you said, he did not rot. But he spent more than 2 years there. Sometimes, at the moment of problems and troubles, I feel that it is enough, Lord please get me out of this situation. I need to remind myself of Moses and Joseph, whom the Lord spent a looong time shaping and honing, so I can shut up and listen to God.

Did Joseph fear that he had lost God's favor?
I don't know. Joseph is still as human as you and I, and I feel that he may have doubted but God was with him and that was most important.

We are blessed because of Christ. So I feel that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, he is with us as much as God is with Joseph because he promised it (John 15:1-11).

I am not familiar with the concept of pixie dust. I suppose it means something magical? Then it is as you said - not quite pixie dust :)

codepoke said...

You know, Milly, I don't quite know how to respond to your comments. Two years ago, being a rookie single person was deadly to me. All it took to get a chuckle out of me was thinking of being happy again. It was a laughable idea.

The glint of the sun on the snow did not cure that. And the memories of happy moments were not a foundation for me - they were the things torn from me against my will. Those things that were supposed to encourage me, left me feeling only more empty inside.

I suppose it is a difference in the wonderful way in which we are made.

For me, it has been the quest to make a difference that has lifted me. I admitted many faults, made some changes, and began to find other people's needs and joys as substantial as my own. And it has made a difference. I don't know. I think I'm happier than I was ten years ago, but who's to say. I know I am more satisfied.

Under it all though, is the real foundation. Even while singleness was killing me, I knew Christ cared enough to die for me, and was powerful enough to rise for me. If I had someone that powerful, and that caring, then there must be a reason for everything else.

That's why I call it a foundation.

If I found my thinking upon the idea that I am in pain, then there is no foundation. I start trying to build my understanding of God's actions on my pain, and as my feelings wash too and fro, my world is shaken. But if I found my thinking upon the unchangeable act of God's love, then my pain finds its place and becomes acceptable.

Just like Joseph, I can trust in God's honor toward me, even when I cannot see any evidence of it.

codepoke said...

You may be stronger than I am, Missy. I think pixie dust, and get all whiny. ;-)

codepoke said...

Then it is as you said - not quite pixie dust :)

Amen, Pearlie. Thanks.

I need to remind myself of Moses and Joseph, whom the Lord spent a looong time shaping and honing, so I can shut up and listen to God.

I have to ask. This sounds kind of like you are impatient with yourself. Are you?

Kansas Bob said...

Maybe pixie dust is in the really big things and joy/happiness/satisfaction is more about the little things.

If you need to win the (pixie dust) Super Bowl to be happy then you will never be happy just playing the game tothe best of your ability.

In the same way Joseph didn't need to escape from prison to be happy ... he just had to serve God to the best of his ability ... slackers should never be happy - ouch, did I say that?

Milly said...

I wanted to respond back but I sound rather horrible in my response. . . .a bit corny too.

codepoke said...


slackers should never be happy

Dude! THAT is a doctrine I can embrace. :-)

Well, actually, I think slackers are often happy, but never satisfied, but that's semantics.

codepoke said...

I look forward to your response, Milly. I hope you'll forgive me for any misunderstandings. :-)

Milly said...

No big thing I'll hold my responses.

pearlie said...

I have to ask. This sounds kind of like you are impatient with yourself. Are you?

:) Good question. I can be both patient and impatient but over bigger things I think I am more patient than impatient.

I survived 5 years working in a deteriorating company. I went for many job interviews but nothing came out of them. Finally, after much waiting and praying, came what I call the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday event - interviewed on Monday, terminated on Tuesday (we all were) and hired on Wednesday :) I still have a lot to learn about being patient, God builds and hones us in His ways and His time.

Patchouli said...

Many, many thought provoking insights here--I think we all have a different idea about what it is--making my fantasies come true with the wave of a magic wand--wouldn't that be nice? And who would I be if that were true? Hmmm...

Missy said...

"You may be stronger than I am, Missy..."

CP, horseradish!

I should have said "I will think "pixie dust" and TRY TO find hope and excitement instead."

I was describing how, in thinking on this post when I feel myself becoming impatient at where God has set me, I could possibly find happiness.

Anonymous said...

By the way, why should the church have a "hope of profitting from every member"? It seems to me that if such is your hope, you will be very weary indeed at the end of this life. After all, what looks like "useful" to you and me, may only look "useful" in God's eyes. In the long run, if usefulness is what we look for, then we must eventually create a standard other than Christ by which to measure it. I'll just stop there. It's getting too involved. T in S

Missy said...

Christ had enough faith that God would make us usefule to die on the cross. So the least I can do, weary or no, is to have that same faith for my brothers and sisters and myself.