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- all at once.
I married my high school sweetheart, moved into a new home, and later we had a beautiful son. But in a few short months, everything 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 hopelessly hanging on to our marriage while rebelling against God sent me spiraling down into a dark abyss. We were in church every time the doors opened, we tithed faithfully, volunteered regularly, and prayed and lived by God’s Word. God was allowing our hearts and lives to be crushed for a greater purpose. It was beyond my understanding at the time. I blamed God for everything. I cried out for answers, but none came. I accused God of dreadful things and questioned Him as though He were on trial.
Thirteen years later, a divine encounter with God brought my prodigal heart back to Him. I 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 to 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.
At the time, I believed I was entitled to live my dreams out because I faithfully followed Christ. Suffering was not part of my gravely flawed theology. What I failed to understand was, God often allows suffering to prepare those He loves for a greater work and God-sized dreams. Our character must first be tested and tried in the fire of affliction to prove our faithfulness to God.
Our response to adversity determines our future and the fulfillment of God-given dreams.
God is looking for joyful acceptance and obedience as a response when we experience hardship and suffering, not an attitude of rebellion or a stoic grit-and-bear-it posture.
Joyful acceptance amid pain is humanly impossible. But God’s grace enables us to adopt this attitude if we ask Him for it. Just as Jesus learned obedience through suffering, so must we.
As I have continued to surrender my will to His, God has fulfilled big dreams in my life. Over time, God restored my marriage, gave us two more beautiful children, and a lovely home.
I’ve learned to dream God-sized dreams, will you?