Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shattered Dreams: Part 1

“I know, I know—we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he ________________? Fill in the blank. Heal your mom. Save your marriage. Get you married. Help you more.

“Either (a) we’re blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us. Or some combination of both, which is where most people land.” ~ John Eldredge; Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heat Fully Alive

Think for a moment about the different dreams you have had for your life. What were your dreams for a family, a job, friendships, a house, and whatever else you can think of? Isn’t true that we have these expectations for what life should be like? I would imagine for most of us the life we are living right now is not the life we dreamed we would have.

On the one hand this isn’t a terrible thing. The life we dreamed of when we were younger was filled with many unrealistic expectations. In fact if we achieved those dreams our lives may have turned out for the worse rather than the better. Think about the life of the sports or rock star. Would we be able to live a life which pleases God if we were surrounded by the temptations and pressures they face everyday? What if you married the first crush you ever had; would reality be like the fairy tale you dreamed? We recognize that it is not a horrible thing that all our dreams go unfulfilled.

Yet on the other hand we have dreams which we believe are essential to our happiness. The single person might begin to believe that the one thing which would make his/her life truly happy is to be married (while a married person might wish for the freedom of singleness). Or a person might believe a certain job or possession is essential for their happiness. When these things do not come our way or are taken away from us our dreams of a happy life are shattered. We shake our fist at God and shout; “Don’t You care about my happiness? I thought You loved me!” More often then not God’s answer to us is silence. We pray and pray and pray and God remains unresponsive.

God does care about us. 1 Peter 5:7 reads; Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you (NLT). So we are left with a dilemma. Either the Bible is lying and God doesn’t care about us (or doesn’t even exist) or God wants something different from our lives.

I am convinced that God has a wonderful life for us. The problem is that our dreams of what a wonderful life looks like and God's plan for our lives look nothing alike. We dream of being served, and God's dream has us serving. We dream of winning the lottery, and God's dream has us giving so much it hurts. We dream of being recognized for all the wonderful things we have done, and God's dream has us quietly working behind the scenes. The reality is that in order to discover His life for us God has to allow our dreams to shatter. God allows life to happen to us so that we might one day wake-up to discover His dream for our lives.

Until we realize the insignficance of our dreams we will always put more effort into achieving what we think will make us happy rather than on what will make us holy. That is the main difference between God's dream for our lives and our dreams. We dream about a happy life. God dreams about holy lives.

God has to allow our dreams to shatter so we will wake-up to the reality that He has a totally different life for us to live. If we never re-adjust our focus we will always live a life that is not in line with the best God has for us. Shattered Dreams are not the end of life, but are the beginning of the best life to come.

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