Thursday, August 23, 2012

Redirected Dreams

My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; show me why You contend with me. Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of Your hands...Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity; yet You would destroy me. Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay...Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Oh, that I had perished and no eye had seen me! I would have been as though I had not been. I would have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? Cease! Leave me alone, that I may take a little comfort, before I go to the place from which I shall not return...'” Excerpts from Job 10

There is a complex paradox we must come to grips with as a Christian – God has made us and He loves us, yet our lives as we see them, He does not love. A difficult understanding indeed to realize that God took the time to imagine all that we are and all that we could be, fashioned us before we even saw the light of day in a manner that would perfectly fit into that image, and then wrote down all of His dreams He decided to make true in the life He wanted to give us – but then forsook all the details in each of our lives so that the final compilation of His purposes could be worked out. And by forsook I mean He looked only at the end product with the eye of a master craftsman, not dwelling on the details of the process by which both He and us would have to undergo to get to the final product.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16

As I read Job's words from Job 10 I hear the pit from which he is trying to find his way out of in questioning God regarding his very difficult circumstances. He is wrestling with the paradox I just spoke about - “If God loves me so much, and fashioned me with His own hands, then why has He left me to be destroyed?” Destruction is what it does feel like to us when we have lost all hope of what is to come and all our earthly dreams, aspirations, and comforts have been removed from our lives. But just because those things which we have equated to the life we thought God had set forth before us are suddenly and painfully removed, that does not mean God has abandoned us or that His final plan for who He is making us into has been lost.

In talking with a long time friend last night (we worked together over 16 years ago), she asked me the following questions:  Did you ever see yourself with 3 children? Did you ever see yourself desiring to adopt three special needs children? Did you ever see yourself...and the list went on and on. And to each question I had to answer, “No”. But as we continued talking about the ways God has upset my idea of what I had desired my life to look like, I realized that with each upset in my own hopes and dreams came stepping stones (those hurtful, painful, undesirable, and uncomfortable circumstances) that prepared me for the bigger picture God was working to complete in my life as He had always desired for it to look.

It is completely crazy I think how God can use those things that we so much want to avoid (mostly because they are painful and costly to our dreams) to work together in putting a picture together of what He as been working out in our lives to complete - His dream of who He intended for us to be. Job was in that place when he uttered those words above – the place of seeing all his dreams fade before his eyes and thinking God as absolutely crazy in taking away all that seemed to make sense in building his life as something worthy of a God-sized dream for him. But what we consider in our minds as a spectacular dream for God to dream for us is always way too small of a dream compared to what God had imagined for us before we even took our first breath.

Yes, there is a sense of loss when our dreams must be removed so there is room for what God desires to come in. But, that loss needs to be dealt with quickly and willingly so we do not hinder in any way the things God has ready to bring into our lives to work out His plan for our perfected life. Grieving the loss of what we had dreamed could have been for us must be brief if we truly live in faith, because faith is willing to walk that road ahead that trusts alone in the One who has dreamed even bigger dreams for us.

As I look back in my life, I am glad that God did not give in to my “pit”iful grievances against the changes He made in my life to crush my dreams and to make His all the more clear. The pain in those changes faded quickly as I found the faith to continue on and grow into the new dream set before me. So, even though I do not know what the final dream God has for me looks like, each day I am learning how wonderfully suited I am for the dream He pictured for me so long ago - a paradox I have learned brings much joy when the pain of loss is taken as a gift instead of a punishment.

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