BOOK TITLE: THE JOURNEY INTO YOUR VISION
By Gbile Akaani
Book Review by Sis Chizoba Chendo
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, every young person naturally develops a dream of the person he or she wishes to become in life. God also sows his plans and purposes into people`s lives first of all as dreams and visions. In-between a dream and its translation to physical reality lies a long journey of inevitable ups and downs of sweet and bitter experiences that train a person till he or she arrives at the desired point. Unfortunately, many young people have their God-given dreams die unborn but God who gives good dreams also has all it would take to bring your dreams to a living reality. He has a path, a route through which anyone willing to actualize his dreams must take.
There are many examples in the scriptures we can latch on to discover those peculiar processes that bring men to the fulfilment of God`s intentions. There is Esther; the slave girl who became the celebrated queen of the most powerful dynasty of her time. Ruth; a hopeless widow who turned out to become the great grandmother of David and indeed a progenitor of the King of Kings could be used. We also have Peter; an unlearned barbarian who would have died an ordinary fisherman but then grew on to perform very notable miracles and baffled learned professors. There are still many more but the author – Bro Gbile Akanni – has chosen the life of Joseph to demonstrate that it is actually God who takes a person through His own processes to translate what would have remained a mere dream into a breathtaking reality. In the words of our Lord Jesus, there are cups and baptisms that fit a man for greatness and Joseph did drink a lot of those cups.
As we go through Joseph’s history, the author reminds us again that Joseph was the long-awaited child of Jacob’s old age from Rachel – his beloved wife. Unfortunately, he lost his mother very early in his life and as it usually happens with men who lose a beloved wife, his father turned his affections towards him. Joseph became the apple of his father’s eyes and this created envy and violent hatred for him in the hearts of his brothers. Joseph had set his heart on knowing God more personally and intimately. At the age of seventeen, he had begun to have dreams; not about girls but about God’s purposes for his life. Even his father was amazed at the consistent and progressive emphasis of his dreams. His dreams so incensed his brothers that they united in a plot against him but all that only led them to become the hand which God used to move Joseph forward into the fulfilment of his dreams.
When Joseph dreamt his dreams, it must have appeared to him as if its fulfilment is just a stone throw away. It would never have occurred to Joseph (and usually not to anyone else) that there are invisible portions of a vision. What appears like beautiful scenery, good enough for a photograph, in a dream may, in reality, be actually filled with thorny bushes and gullies without bridges. The closer you get, the more the reality of its inaccessibility by ordinary means dawns on you. Joseph not knowing what his dreams will entail must have said ‘O Lord, let thy will be done’ but the fulfilment of his dream must await the processing of his own character in order for him to become a vessel through whom God can pour the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant. If the processing of your life is slow and sluggish then the fulfilment of God’s vision for your life would also be very slow. To draw the point that God awaits the formation of life, the author reminds us that though David carried the anointing of a king on his head, he would not become one till he had gone through his own character training and tests in the wilderness and cave of Adullam.
The beginning of Joseph’s training seemed ordinary and not divine at all. His father sends him to go and check on his brothers who went to shechem with the flock. This is God’s usual way of weaving his divine purposes into the everyday situations of our lives. The most crucial thing that joseph did which placed him at God’s disposal for his training was that he said ‘Here I am’ to his father. To be great in God’s hand, it is not greatness you first seek but service and service, even to people who maybe presently hostile. The journey to greatness usually starts by responding properly to seemingly casual demands from seemingly ordinary people. The journey that brought Saul into anointing as the first King of Israel was a search for his father’s lost asses. Samuel too came into something as he responded to Eli’s ‘call’. With his ‘Here I am’, Joseph was sent out of Hebron for his next phase of training. Hebron was good and held a lot of significance for Joseph but it was limited in terms of what it could provide for his training. Leaving Hebron may be tied to a place or some other external things but much more significantly Hebron represents our self-life built and decorated. To tarry to long at Hebron is to become a dwarf. All your visions will remain mere dreams.
The next crucial place God brings everyone he plans to use for great things is the place of Baptism unto death. Joseph’s brothers were the hands that brought him to this baptism. Just as the Sanhedrin council thought that the death of Jesus will be his end, Joseph’s brothers also saw his death as the end of his dreams. In that pit his brothers threw him, Joseph must have literally bowed his heart and died to everything including his dreams. Rather than bury him under Dothan soil, his brothers decided to sell him to the Ishmaelites on route to Egypt. The only treasure Joseph carried out of Hebron and into Egypt was his relationship with the Lord which he held tenaciously to all through his stay in Potiphar’s house, prison and palace despite all the challenges he faced everywhere. The first priority you must set in your pursuit of God’s dream for your life, bro Gbile advises, is your intimacy with God. It is more valuable than silver and gold. Samson’s downfall only came when the Lord departed from him.
When all the lessons and tests Joseph could go through in Potiphar’s house were exhausted, God moved him into the next quarry site – the prison where he was delivered to a fresh death and further lessons. He was baptized with various furnaces experiences and checked out for leakages or cracks within his personality. It was not the devil that oppressed him; it was the word of God that tried him. Joseph could not have anticipated such a winding and tortuous path but God’s ways are surely different from ours. At the appropriate time, God crafted the conditions that lifted Joseph out of the prison to stand before pharaoh. His dreams came to pass. Not just his brothers but the sun, moon and stars from all over Egypt and the surrounding nations bowed the knee to him as Prime minister and controller in Egypt.
What God does to a person especially in his youth in preparing him or her for a place of divine fulfilment is worth spending time to discover, so this book will be of benefit to anyone who truly wants to succeed at fulfilling the purpose of God for his or her life. Several young people of our days desire to be great and live out their dreams but they quickly pull themselves away and resist the cups and baptisms arranged for them not knowing that this is God’s provision for their formation. Bro Gbile counsels his readers to think beyond personal convenience and pleasure and come under their own “Jethros and Potiphars” who have been called to place their hands on the rawness of their lives for God. Perhaps your life and calling may just be like Joseph’s, who was made a channel for God’s greater purpose for mankind to come to pass. Each passing day and each decision you make will count. The earlier you get into your training the better for you. May the Lord bless you as you take the steps of ‘Yes Lord, here am I’ through whoever He chooses to lead you further.