A group of us from church are reading Larry Crabb’s book Becoming a True Spiritual Community, and I read a line recently that has stayed with me. Discussing the fact that suffering is inevitable for the Christian, Crabb writes “Christianity remakes our dreams before it fulfills them.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea lately… that God is in the business of remaking our dreams. It’s a new thought for me and an interesting one. I’ve thought about dreams being fulfilled in joy or dashed in disappointment, but not remade. What does that look like?
I’ve walked my seventeen-year-old through a semester that has been all about a disappointed dream. He has played soccer since preschool and finally reached his long-awaited senior soccer season this fall. He has played with the same group of guys since the 6th grade, many of whom are quite talented. All the parents and fans have been saying for years, “Just wait till these guys are seniors. It will be the best team our school has ever had.”
A short way into the season, however, Sterling went down on the field in what seemed like a normal collision but resulted in a completely torn ACL as well as a torn and flipped meniscus. If you don’t know much about knees, that translates into an extensive surgery, 6 weeks on crutches, 3 months of physical therapy, lots of missed school and… no more soccer for the remainder of the year. A dream dashed in a matter of seconds.
We’ve all been trying to help him “look on the bright side of things,” but honestly, when your friends are traveling to another away game and you’re stuck asking your mom to bring you another bag of frozen peas for your bulging knee, the “bright side” is hard to find. If we’re talking about dreams being fulfilled or unfulfilled, we have definitely been on the dark side of unfulfillment.
But what if there is a third option? What if our dreams can be remade?
What if our dreams need to be remade?
What if we have a God who loves us too much to let us settle for what we call our “dreams”? Because, really, at their best, our dreams are probably little more than a desire to promote ourselves, live comfortably, and avoid pain. What if we serve a God who dreams bigger than that?
I have a hunch that we do. Occasionally I get the sense that my dreams are only shadows of the dreams and plans that God has. That I’m not even capable of dreaming in his league. That I really don’t even know what a dream is.
So occasionally we run into things like torn-up knees and failed adoptions and rejection letters and we think our dreams have been destroyed. We want to cry and scream and give ourselves over to the grief and anger and debilitating disappointment that wait to consume us. Or we run to something else that we hope will dull the pain enough for us to get on with life.
Or we could consider the third option. What would it look like to wait, sitting in the rubble, for… something else? What if we could quiet ourselves and listen, trying to get a sense of what is stirring in us through the Spirit? What if we resisted the urge to to simply manage the pain and instead allowed a new thing to happen through the pain? What new dreams might be born?
What about you? Do you have any experience with a remade dream?