On the one hand this isn’t a terrible thing. The life we dreamed about 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. I can’t imagining living the life of a sports or rock star. Would I be able to live a life which pleases God if I was surrounded by such temptations which they face? What if I married the first crush I ever had; would reality be like the fairy tale I dreamed? As we mature we recognize that it is not a horrible thing that many of 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 will make their 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, achievement, or possession is essential for their happiness. When these things do not come our way or, even more tragic, are taken away our dreams of a happy life are shattered. We shake our fist towards the heavens and shout; “Don’t You care about my happiness? I thought You loved me!” More often than not God’s answer to us is silence. We pray and pray and pray and God remains unresponsive.
According to the Bible God does care about us. 1 Peter 5:6, 7 reads:
6 Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you. 7 Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you. (ISV)This provides us with a troubling dilemma. Either the Bible is lying and God doesn’t care about us (maybe He doesn’t even exist) or we are blowing it. What other explanations are there for God not helping us live the life of our dreams?
I am convinced that God does care for us. How do I answer this dilemma? I believe that the answer is found in the reality that God is preparing us for something much more than mere happiness here on earth. What God wants from our lives and the dreams that we have for our lives are not the same thing.
We dream of being served, and God desires that we serve. We dream of winning the lottery, and God desires that we give until it hurts. We dream of being recognized for all the wonderful things we have done, and God desires that we work quietly behind the scenes. The reality is that in order to discover the life God has for us our dreams for life need to shatter so we can accept God's desires for our lives.
Until our dreams are shattered and we wake up to God’s desire for our lives we will always put more effort into achieving what we think will make us happy rather than on what will make us holy. Ultimately God’s desire for our lives are concerned with us becoming holy and rather than making us happy. Consider what James wrote:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4; ISV)
James says that troubles and trials are the first step become mature and complete: the people God created us to be. When we are distracted by our dreams we can never become the people God created us to be. 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.
- Point to Ponder: Ultimately God’s desire for our lives are concerned with us becoming holy and rather than making us happy.
- Passage to Remember: James 1:2-4
- Question to Consider: How have your dreams hinder from becoming the person God created you to be?