By David Ryser
If you ever see a turtle on a fencepost you can know that it didn’t get there by itself. (Allan Emery)
One of my dreams died today. Although this death is somewhat painful for me, it is not unexpected. Dreams don’t die all at once…they can take a long time to die. And this dream has been on life support for several years. Today it was time to pull the plug.
My dream died quickly and peacefully in its sleep.
Now, my dream is not the only dream that has ever died. The Bible is full of stories about people with God-given hopes, aspirations, and ambitions who have experienced the death of their dreams.
The story of Joseph is one such example. Joseph had two dreams through which God revealed to him that he would rule over his father’s household. Typical of God, He did not reveal to Joseph the details of the difficulties through which the dream would come to pass. Before the dreams were fulfilled in Joseph’s life he was sold into slavery, was falsely accused of sexual assault, and was imprisoned.
It’s bad enough to be in prison. It’s even worse to be a slave in prison.
Finally, Joseph was released from prison 17 years after he was sold into slavery. He was promoted to second-in-command over all of Egypt. He was given great wealth and married into a prominent family. Life was great for Joseph, especially the first several years of his reign. Many years later Joseph was reunited with his family, and the dreams God had given to him were fulfilled.
But somewhere along the line, Joseph had forgotten about the dreams.
It was not until his brothers bowed down before him that Joseph remembered his dreams. Perhaps over time the dreams faded from Joseph’s memory…because his life had turned out so differently from what he had imagined…and Joseph had simply moved on from them to carve out the best life he could live.
But although Joseph forgot his dreams, he never forgot the God Who had given them to him.
Moses also had a dream. Although he was brought up as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses was raised by his birth mother. He knew who he was and what he was destined to do. This dream so burned in him that he killed for it. When things went downhill after the murder, Moses fled Egypt and lived his life as a shepherd for the next 40 years. During this time, Moses’ dream…like the dreams of Joseph...eventually died. When God appeared to Moses in the desert and resurrected his dream, Moses…unlike Joseph…remembered the dream God had given to him.
But he no longer wanted it.
So the stories of Joseph and Moses contain some similarities and some differences. Both men had God-given dreams. Both men experienced the death of their dreams over time as their lives took unexpected turns. Both had moved on with their lives after the death of their dreams…their lives were not wasted mourning over their dead dreams. Both had their dreams resurrected and fulfilled by God in the end, but by then neither cared. Joseph had forgotten his dreams, but embraced them when they came to pass. Moses remembered his dream, but tried to reject it when God breathed new life into it.
And neither man forgot the God who gave the dreams to them even after their dreams had died.
I have read the stories of people who have suffered the death of God-given dreams and experienced the joy of having their dreams resurrected by God and given back to them. I know people who have had the same experience. Many…if not all…of these people drew closer to God (although not without wavering at times) through the process of dying to their dreams. Through it all they remained…or became…steadfast lovers of Jesus who compared to the joy of knowing Him did not care about their dreams (whether forgotten or remembered) by the time God breathed new life into their dreams and fulfilled them. God is able to resurrect dead dreams.
Resurrection is a wonderful thing. But it comes with a price.
You see, there is no resurrection without death. Resurrection by definition requires death. Resurrection is being raised from death to life. In order to be resurrected, a person must first experience death. For a dream to be resurrected, it must first die.
There are no shortcuts. There is no Plan B.
So now I sit with a dead dream. And trust me, I know a dead something when I see one. I’m not particularly devastated by this loss because I still have everything that matters…I still have Jesus. And I have the rest of my life before me filled with endless possibilities as I contemplate where to go and what to do from here. I have a great excitement and expectancy…without expectation…about my future.
And I have not forgotten the God who gave me the dream that has died.
Does this mean that God will resurrect my dream and give it back to me? I don’t know. And I don't care.
Responses to this article are welcomed. You may contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org