God Gives Himself

Joseph’s head rests on his pillow.

White light sparking in it.

In his dream, sparrows fold the Milky Way into a darkness that lowers the sun. And out of its position and low to the ground, the sun is joined by the crescent moon sprinkled with eleven stars.

And standing at the center of the universe is the young boy, Joseph—the prism of new light. Everything bowing before him. Mother Nature wiping her feet at his mat.

And he would’ve been better off keeping the dream to himself. But you know how boys are when it comes to bragging. And he blabs it into the ears of his brothers. “Listen,” he says, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me” (Genesis 37:9).

The brothers think it’s prideful and crass, so they bundle him up into slavery and ship him off to live a pauper’s life.

In this silent darkness, Joseph dwells for the better part of his life. He’s beaten down and unjustly imprisoned. Bound by circumstances that would kill the stoutest dream.

And maybe Joseph questioned God and got no answer.

Why did you allow my brothers to sell me into slavery?

Why did Potiphar’s wife slander my character?

God, You know I never seduced her.

Whether Joseph ever questioned God or not, I know sometimes I do. I have moments when we feel imprisoned, those moments when I labor in silent darkness to no prevail.

And in Joseph’s case he ends his ordeal many years later by saying to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

Only Joseph could end things this way. He makes the best of his situation and lives to fulfill his dream. He could’ve collapsed into a state of grumbling and complaining. He could’ve blamed God.

Most of us would.

For we are a people of the gripe and complain.

We want God to give answers when in fact he is offering himself. And sometimes he lets us cry as mothers let their children cry. Mothers know that sometimes crying will soon turn into sleeping. And if not for the crying the sleeping would not come.

If not for the silence of God, we would never find the end of ourselves—that moment when we let go and give God control, that moment when we find our own child-like rest.

The freedom we seek becomes the purest when we are so defeated by our addictions and our actions that we sense no choice left at all. 

If you are at your wit’s end, let go of your struggle. It’s the only choice left.

A passage in one of Tennyson’s poems says:

        So runs my dreams; but what am I?

        An infant crying in the night;

        An infant crying for the light;

        And with no language but a cry.

The psalmist said, “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).

And God gives himself.


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