“I am so sorry. I have bad news,” Bev’s physician announced to us as he entered the exam room. We would like to have heard that she is healthy, that there are no complications. But … I have no simple answers to the why of this and I am not sure it would make much difference anyway. We are not the first to be disappointed. Surely there are thousands in the city of Baltimore this morning that are struggling with broken dreams and disappointment. How did a young man die in police custody? Why did throngs of primarily young men decide to riot, loot, and burn their own city? Are they just lawless or does hopelessness play a part in their violence? Closer to home, most likely you have a few hopes that have gone unmet, some plans that are frustrated by ‘life!’
It may sound like a cliché but here is what I know today – at the end of my dreams there is the plan of my loving Father! The Jews who had found themselves overtaken by the Assyrians, their nation destroyed, their dreams shattered – received a promise from the LORD: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12, The Message)
Naomi moved to Moab with her husband and two sons to escape a famine. It looked like finally they were getting life together, then Elimelech died. Naomi, picked up the pieces of her life and went on. Her two sons married Moabite women and for 10 years, life was good, then… both sons died! Naomi’s life was tragic, her dreams shattered. Where was God in all that happened to her? Right there with her. Now that might just seem to the ‘right’ answer, but it is the true answer.
After learning of the tragic circumstances of her life, we read the end of Naomi’s story… “Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son. The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!” Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.” (Ruth 4:13-16, The Message) That baby became the grandfather of Israel’s great king, David! God used Naomi, to touch an alien woman’s life. Ruth, was brought to Israel and included in the line of David and the line of the Messiah, Jesus. You might read that and say, “So, does that make the pain Naomi had to endure all right?” I cannot answer that, nor can you!
Our dreams must be shattered so we can find God’s dreams for us. When God doesn’t make OUR dreams come true, we are faced with a huge choice. Will we trust Him and wait for a new dream to replace the shattered one OR will we descend into bitterness and unbelief? In such moments, I borrow the prayer of a desperate father who brought his son for healing to Jesus and cried out when the Lord asked him to believe: “I do believe, but help me not to doubt!” (Mark 9.24)
IF we will trust Him, He can give us a new dream, a new life that recovers HOPE! Life is not about us living in a perfectly balanced scale where the pain is always offset by the blessings, where the hard times are offset by the good times. Life is about living in full faith, trusting that He is able to keep us secure in His love through the shattered dreams!
Are your dreams for life shattered today? Reach out to people who will love you, weep with you, and hold you up until your faith is strong enough to touch the heart of God again.
Reject the easy answers, the psycho-babble, the half- truths….. but do not reject God. Ask Him for courage to weep yet keep hope and faith intact as you pray — “I do believe, but help me not to doubt!”
“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead!
And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.
Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-12, The Message)
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee.
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow,
May richer fuller be.
O light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze it’s day,
May brighter fairer be.
O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
George Matteson © Public Domain