When Dreams Die

How do we handle it when our dreams die, especially the ones we thought to be God-given?
This question has on occasion touched me deeply, because I have grieved over the death of several dreams.  With this said, let me give you 12 examples of people in Scripture who experienced the death of their dreams.

1.  Joseph received two God-given dreams, then was cast into a pit, sold into slavery, served in Potiphar’s house and ended up in prison (Genesis 37-50).

2.  Moses was commissioned by “I AM THAT I AM” to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  Later, he and his brother, Aaron, were rejected by the Israelites as situations went from bad to worse (Exodus 5).

3.  Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the Promised Land.  Only two came back with a positive report and the people wanted to stone them and

cast Moses aside (Numbers 13-14).

4.  Samson, the prophet-playboy of Israel, was raised up to judge the people, but allowed his uncontrolled passions to alter his assignment (Judges 16).

5.  Saul, Israel’s first king, began his reign with great promise and ended up falling on his own sword while fighting the Philistines (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

6.  David, Israel’s king-to-be, found himself physically, spiritually and mentally exhausted after running from King Saul, only to learn that the Amalekites had taken captive his wife and children (1 Samuel 30:1-4).

7.  King David’s heart was crushed after learning his best friend, Jonathan, had been killed in battle (2 Samuel 1).

8.  God put it in the heart of David to bring the ark of God to its resting place in Jerusalem.  David’s plan was foiled when Uzzah, the priest, was struck dead after trying to steady the ox cart, which carried the ark (2 Samuel 6).

9.  David made plans to build the temple, but was refused by God because he had been a man of war and the cause of much bloodshed in Israel (1 Chronicles 22:8).

10.  David’s one-night-stand with Bathsheba, their unplanned pregnancy, Uriah’s murder, and their baby’s subsequent death caused the monarch much grief throughout the remaining years of his life (2 Samuel 12).

11.  Israel’s exiles listened to the promises of false prophets regarding their future (Jeremiah 29).

12.  Stephen, the newly selected deacon, a man full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and one whose life exhibited great potential in the infant Church, was stoned (Acts 6).

All of us have experienced the death of a dream.  During these times, we either get bitter or better.  Sometimes we never fully understand the “why’s” of God, but the above examples of dreams that died perhaps give us insights that may help us deal with our own losses.

1.  Joseph’s dreams died temporarily, only to be resurrected thirteen years after he was thrown into the pit.  Remember, timing is everything when it comes to God’s plan for our lives.

2.  It looked like Moses’ dream to lead the children of Israel died, but really God was testing his obedience and trust in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

3.  Regarding the twelve spies, sometimes our dreams die at the hands of those around us.  When the inequities of life steal our dreams, we have to lay them at the feet of an all-loving, all-knowing God, who eventually evens the score.

4.  Ask Samson.  Some dreams die because we allow sin and the lust of our flesh to override God’s plan.

5.  King Saul saw his dream die because he allowed jealousy, rage and bitterness to control his life.  Sin is a dream-killer.

6.  When David discovered his wife and kids had been taken captive by the Amalekites, he “cried until he could cry no more.”  Sometimes God allows our dream to die so that we “come to the end of ourselves” and trust Him completely.

7.  David learned that precious Jonathan had died.  His soul was crushed.  We make one of two choices when life dashes our dreams and breaks our heart:  (1) to either fall upon the Rock (Jesus) and find comfort, or (2) to blame God, become bitter and allow circumstances to crush us.

8.  Some dreams die when God tests our motivations behind our actions.  We have to live our lives in keeping with God’s revealed will.

9.  David wanted to build the Temple in Jerusalem.  Sometimes our dreams die because they are not OUR dreams!  God has assigned what we thought was our dream to someone else!

10. David and Bathsheba lost their baby.  God did not punish the baby, but sin brings terrible consequences to our choices.

11. Israel rejected the prophetic voice of Jeremiah and chose to listen to false prophets.  Sometimes our dreams die when we listen to the wrong voices.

12. Stephen’s future ministry looked promising, but he was martyred.  Sometimes our dreams die because God has a much larger purpose in mind for us.  Stephen’s death caused the early disciples of Jesus to spread out all over the Roman Empire, thus taking the Gospel to people and lands that Stephen would never see.

Have you experienced the death of a dream?  Let me encourage you to do what David did when he and Bathsheba lost their baby; and later when his wife and children were captured by the Amalekites.  He got down on the ground and worshiped God!  WORSHIP GOD — the highest form of faith when things go from bad to worse.



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