All of us have dreams. Growing up, you probably imagined yourself becoming an astronaut or a cowboy, or maybe a ballerina. As we get older, these goals tend to change shape into something deeper and more personal. We dream about marriage, family, and a rewarding career. We dream about seeing the world, writing a book, or performing on stage. Even something as common as owning a house or becoming a parent can occupy a special place in our heart. But what happens when we have to let these dreams go?
When I was a teenager, I dreamed of getting married and having a big family like the one I was raised in. Today I am 30 and single, and I’ve learned some dreams cannot be met, only mourned. I’m not the only one either. Over at Relevant Magazine, Shara Lewis has penned a truly beautiful feature about finding God amidst broken dreams. In particular, Lewis reflects how sometimes the Lord asks us to walk away from our personal hopes in order to find contentment in him. She writes,
“Contentment is learned. And like most things that do not come naturally and we have to learn, contentment is hard. Finding contentment in whatever circumstance is learned. And I would argue that it’s something that, through discipline, must be continually learned every day for the rest of our lives. And gracious contentment is something that is empowered by the strength supplied by Christ. And true contentment is ultimately only found in Christ. Through Christ who strengthens, we can grieve our dreams. We can grieve our losses. Trusting all the while in His unchanging character.”
“And through Christ who strengthens, we can take hold of a new dream.”
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned it. Maybe, like me, you’re still searching for someone to build a family with. Perhaps you found that person, but they were taken from you unexpectedly. Perhaps you’re still yearning to accomplish that lifelong goal before it inches farther away, or maybe each day has become a battle against illness, depression, and uncertainty. Regardless, God calls us all to move forward in faithfulness.
There is a powerful verse in the book of Ecclesiastes which reads as follows,
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-12
Many dreams fade. Some we are called away from, others we must mourn. Still, whatever circumstance Christians find themselves in, we can rest in the knowledge that God is present and he mourns with us. All things happen in their own time, according to his will. Whether or not our dreams come true, we will only find contentment with him.
*Ryan Duncan is an Editor at Crosswalk.com