Over the past week many of us have been watching the summer Olympics. When we look beyond the events, we see ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. They are living out those dreams by making it to the Olympics to compete with athletes from other countries in their selected event.
However, for some of these athletes dealing with their critics is part of living the dream. Critics who think that a particular athlete doesn't deserve to be at the Olympics, or didn't do well in a particular event that he or she put their best effort forth in, or even that a winner of a gold medal doesn't deserve the victory that they won. Though it may seem unfair, as we will see in the story of Joseph, critics and dreams are a package deal.
The Role of the Critic
We all have critics. Critics are those who doubt our abilities and intentions. Critics make judgments, and often times find faults in what we do and what we dream. The bigger our dreams, the louder our critics seem to be.
Joseph had many critics. His brothers were his loudest critics. If we remember back to Genesis 37 where the story of Joseph began, when he first told his brothers of his dream, they hated him for it. However, now we have seen Joseph's dreams come to be a reality. Therefore, leading us to wonder if it is possible that our critics play an essential role in our dreams?
A Dream ConfirmedGod will confirm our dreams in the hearts of our critics. Genesis 46:1-3 states, So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am." So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.
When Joseph first spoke of his dreams at seventeen years old, even Jacob his father became his critic saying in Genesis 37:10, What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you? However, it was God who spoke to Jacob leading him to Egypt where Joseph was made Governor over all the land, therefore confirming Joseph's dream in Jacob's heart.
The Purpose of the Critic
Despite our feelings about the critics in our lives, the Lord will use them in our dreams that He gives us. God will welcome our critics into our dreams with blessings. In Genesis 47:1-11, we find that Joseph brings his brothers and father into the land of Egypt and gave them the best of the land. Even though they had been Joseph's toughest critics, and his brothers had sold him into slavery, God used Joseph to bless them when his dream turned into reality.
Also we find that God will use our dreams to utilize our critic's abilities and gifts. In Genesis 47:6 it says, the land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock. Pharaoh wanted to see that the abilities of Joseph's brothers be put to work. Therefore, God purposed through Joseph's dreams that his critics be used also.
If you can think of a person who criticizes you, put them in your dream, will there be a place they can be utilized and blessed?
Walk in Humility
If you put yourself in the place of Joseph would it have been an easy task to let your brothers and father be a part of your dream even though they were the ones who hadn't believed in your dream in the first place? It seems to be a difficult task. However, Joseph lived a life of humility as He walked with God. It is essential that we walk in humility also, as the Lord calls us, not only to see our dreams fulfilled like Joseph's, but also because it is equally valuable when we face the critics in our lives who may discourage us from our dreams.
Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the critics in our lives. However, Jesus has dealt with the most critics of all, not only in his own time on earth, but for the past 2,000 years many people have taken on the role of being a critic of Jesus. We were even, before we accepted Him as the Savior of our souls. Surely He can help us and guide us as we humbly look to him in dealing with the critics in our lives.
This year's Olympics have been a first for two women from Afghanistan. They had for the first time the opportunity to compete and represent their country, when before they faced the oppression of the Taliban and were unable to practice their sport in their own country. This was a dream come true for them, and opportunity they never thought they would have. As we have seen in Joseph's story as well, that dreams from God open up doors and opportunities we may have never thought we would have.
If we know Christ then we know He wants to see the dreams He gives us fulfilled in our lives. We can't put God in a box, we must allow Him total control, so we can see the God-sized dreams He gives us come to be a reality, in spite of and because of our critics.