Recently I heard a song called, The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, by The Human League. The lyrics took me back to my decade’s old once-upon-a-time dreams. The things my dreams were once made of died a painful death.
I married my high school sweetheart, enjoyed my creative work, moved into a new home, and later we had a beautiful son. But in a few short months, everything – except my job, came to an end. Unexpectedly, our little boy died, our house was gone, and our marriage was headed to divorce court. My dreams were shattered in a million pieces. Life as I knew it was leveled to the ground.
Losing our son, and trying to hopelessly hang on to our marriage while rebelling against God sent me spiraling down into a dark abyss for a couple of years. We were in church every time the doors opened, we tithed faithfully, volunteered regularly, we prayed and lived by God’s Word. God was allowing our hearts and lives to be crushed for a greater purpose. That was beyond my understanding at the time. So, I blamed God for everything. I cried out for answers, but none came. I accused Him of dreadful things. I questioned God as though He were on trial; “WHY?! How could you take my son, shatter my dreams, and destroy my life? How dare you take away everything you blessed me with!”
Thirteen years later, a divine encounter with God brought my prodigal heart back to Him. I then began the process of LEARNING to trust God again. In the Bible, I read how other’s lives didn’t go exactly as they’d planned. Many godly people who had life altering experiences and encounters with God suffered greatly, only to ultimately clearly see God’s plan and purpose in the end.
- God allowed Satan take all Job had.
- God allowed Joseph to be thrown into a pit, sold as a slave and imprisoned.
- God allowed David to be hunted like an animal by someone he loved.
- God allowed Naomi’s son’s and husband to die and left her with nothing.
- God allowed Paul to be imprisoned in chains, beaten, starved, and shipwrecked.
And greater than all these, God allowed His one and only sinless Son to be shamed, tortured, beaten, and die a brutal death for our redemption.
These are not the things that dreams are made of. But God had a purpose and plan bigger than any of these sufferings.
As a young women, I believed I was entitled to have my dreams come true because I was faithfully following Christ. Suffering was not part of my gravely flawed theology, as was the church we were attending at the time. What I failed to understand at that time was, God often allows suffering to prepare those He loves for a greater work and God-sized dreams. Dreams that are much greater than we can ask, think, or imagine. But to fulfill those dreams, our character must be tested and tried in the fire of affliction to prove our faithfulness to God and God alone.
Our response to adversity determines our future and the fulfillment of God given dreams. The response God is looking for in us when experiencing hardship and suffering is not one of rebellion or a stoic grit-and-bear-it, but one of joyful acceptance and obedience, which can be obtained only by His grace.
Joyful acceptance amid pain is humanly impossible. But God’s amazing grace enables us to adopt this attitude if we simply ask Him for it. And, just as Jesus learned obedience through suffering, so must we.
God has given me bigger dreams than I could have ever dreamed and has fulfilled them as I have continued to surrender my will to His. Over time, God restored my marriage to my High School sweetheart, gave us two more beautiful children, and a lovely home.
I’ve learned to dream God sized dreams, will you?
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10