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Joseph had dreams. Big, God-given dreams about ruling over his family, being exalted to a high position of respect and power. Dreams that made his brothers angry and jealous.

So they tossed him in a pit.

Genesis 37:24 tells us the pit was empty and without water, as Joseph went from dreams to the depths. His circumstances changed in an instant, and would for years to come. I wonder how often he thought about his dreams. Was God lying? Did he perceive things wrong? Or did the dreams stand, regardless of what he could (or couldn’t) see?

When we’re in the pit, we wonder the same. No, we may not dream literal dreams like Joseph did, but we have “our dreams,” don’t we? We dream of the pleasant vacation away from routine, the career track to success and comfort, the prospering marriage, and the pursuit of a generally happy life.

These are our dreams, but are they God’s dreams for us?

When dreams are dashed, and we end up in a pit, we have a choice to make: We can demand a change in our circumstances, believing that peace and joy are relative; or we can lean into that empty, waterless place, allowing the dryness to increase our thirst for Christ.

In the pit, we see how God’s dreams may be different than ours.

God’s dream for Joseph stood, though it took many years for him to see it come to fruition. And God’s plan for us stands, even when we’re disappointed; our circumstances are less about getting what we want, and more about realizing Who and what we already have. For those in Christ, that’s an abundance of life and truth and peace and joy and every spiritual blessing, none of which can compare to the dreams we thought would make us happy.

Sometimes it takes the pit for us to perceive this.

You may be in a deep, empty, dry pit right now. If you are, that stinks. I’m so sorry. My prayer, for you and for me, is that God’s dreams for you in Christ—for his glory and your good—would far outweigh your disappointment and cause you to thirst for him more.

Even when you can’t see out of the pit.

Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a wife, mother, and writer. She is the author of Fight Your Fears: Trusting the Character and Promises of God When You Are Afraid (Bethany House) and the co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company).