What about shattered dreams? This is a follow-up question to the last Langstaff Letter, ‘Goals are Dreams with a Deadline,’ taken from The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.
Broken dreams and shattered dreams cause people to lose hope. What about the dreams people have that never come to life? Shattered dreams cause people to lose hope.
Think of some of them –
- A failed romance
- A lost job
- Financial failures
- Ministry that never opened up
- Health problems
- Broken relationships, even divorce
There are a number of causes of shattered dreams. Let’s look at three main ones.
REASON #1 – OUR OWN FAULT
Our own actions, or lack of action, can cause shattered dreams, even though the vision, goal, or dream originally was God-given. This can include sin, disobedience, fear, lack of faith, or an unwillingness to take risks. Often the reason lies within ourselves, and if so, we need to be honest about it and face it.
What do we need to do?
- Repent/Confess our failures.
- Receive His grace and reconsecrate our lives to him.
- Recommit ourselves to press on in faith and obedience. (Philippians 3:14)
The Bible has many stories of people who failed at some point and yet, even for a season, missed out on God’s best because of sin and disobedience. Sampson was one such leader, albeit God gave him another chance at the end of his life to fulfill his calling to ‘begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.’ (Judges 13:5)
One other point in passing. Sometimes we need to recognize the dream wasn’t actually from God. It came out of our own flesh and desires, not God’s.
REASON #2 – NOT THE RIGHT TIME, PLACE, OR CIRCUMSTANCE
Timing is always the hardest thing to know about the purposes, promises, and dreams God gives us. The Bible has many examples of this.
Think of some of them –
- Joseph, in the Old Testament, dreamed God’s dreams, but it was many years and many setbacks before they were released.
- David was anointed king over Israel by Samuel but spent many years running for his life from Saul.
- Paul was converted on the road to Damascus and received a prophetic commission from Ananias, but it was fourteen years before it began to happen. In Paul’s case, he needed the help of Barnabas to bring him into Antioch and the right place to begin. Sometimes we need help from others to get started.
How do we handle these situations?
- Keep believing, have faith, be patient (Hebrews 10:36).
- Make it a time of preparation.
- Use whatever opportunities God gives you for service in the Kingdom.
- Press on and keep seeking Him.
REASON #3 – CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL
Sometimes the circumstances of life and even the actions of other people delay the fulfillment of a God-given dream.
A biblical example would be Caleb, who was one of the twelve spies sent to spy out the Promised Land. He was ready to take it. He had the faith to do it, but he had to wait forty-five years because the others wouldn’t go in. He had to wait till an entire generation died off. But, when the time came to enter the land, he declared to Joshua, ‘Give me this mountain.’ (Joshua 14:12)
So what do we do?
- Hold fast, keep believing, and keep praying.
- Forgive the ones who caused the delay.
- Be patient, have faith, and keep pressing on.
GOD CAN RESTORE SHATTERED DREAMS
Jeremiah 18:1-7 tells the story of the potter and the clay. Initially, he was speaking to the nation of Israel, but it can apply to individuals also.
‘And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter. So he made it again into another vessel.’ (verse 4) So the clay was misformed, spoiled, and turned out badly, so he reworked it, kneaded it into a lump, and started again, molding it into another vessel.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE IN TELEVISION
In the late 1970’s I became involved in Christian television, working with Jim Bakker and The PTL Club. We were just getting started on our first television station in Australia when the Vice President of World Missions for The PTL Club forced me to relinquish the position as host of the program. He had misunderstood something Jim Bakker had said. So I lost it all. It was the hardest thing I had ever been asked to give up in ministry in my whole life.
Some years later, I was invited to join the Board of a Foundation here in the Twin Cities. After much effort, as well as prayer, we were able to acquire a bankrupt TV Station for 3.5 million dollars (later sold for 52.5 million dollars). It was during that time that I co-hosted a weekly television program called ‘Crossroads’ with Linda Rios Brook, the president of the station. We did some 170 weekly shows. So the call that I had originally had to be involved in Christian TV, which died a death, the death of a vision, was later resurrected in a totally new setting. God can restore the broken dreams of our lives if we will let Him. Like the potter in Jeremiah, He can remold the crushed clay of our lives.