Americans idolize their dreams. We are a nation of big dreamers. We applaud those who do great things. We reward those who succeed. We equate the death of a dream with failure.
But what if the death of a dream is part of the process that God wants to take you through. What if it is ultimately for your good. What if God must empty your hands before He can fill them with what He wants to give you. That sounds painful. That sounds suspiciously like an excuse for failure. So is there a precedent for this in the Bible? Is this something that God actually DOES?
Let’s ask Abraham. No doubt, Abraham and his wife Sarah longed deeply for children. They dreamed of the pitter patter of little feet on the tent floor. Maybe Sarah spent the long evenings knitting little hats and booties for her dream child. When it looked like it was too late for babies, the biological clock has ticked its last, God appeared and breathed life into the dead dream with a promise. “You WILL have a son and I will bless the whole world through your ancestors.”
They had waited a long time for a baby, and now they waited again. After many years of sighing and fretting, Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands. Abraham took Sarah’s servant Haagar as a second wife in order to have a child. They DID have a child, but this was not God’s promised son. They must continue to wait for another 13 years. The dream died again. Then at the age of 99, the dream was once again revived when Sarah became pregnant finally! The miracle child was finally coming! The promise was finally realized.
But the dream was to die again. Did Abraham begin to idolize his son? This promised child, this long awaited joy meant so very much to his parents. God came to Abraham again, and asked him to lay the dream down once more, to sacrifice his son as an act of devotion to God. “But God, you GAVE me this dream! How can you ask me to let it die?” He might have asked. But no, Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could revive the dream again. All this dying of dreams had taught him that God can be trusted when it looks like it’s all over. God could bring his son back to life after he had been sacrificed to the Lord. After all, child sacrifice was part of the religion of the pagans who lived all around Abraham. “So who is to say that this God who makes wild promises and then lets the dream die won’t ask a crazy thing of me as well,” he might have reasoned.
But at the final moment, before the physical death of his son and the final death of the dream, God intervened once again. The test was passed. The idolization was dead and true devotion to God was all that remained. The purification of the dream had occurred. Abraham’s faith was proven and God was satisfied.
What dream are you holding tightly to? Has it become an idol to you? God just might ask you to lay that dream down or out right kill that dream in order to empty your hands. You can not receive from the Lord if your hands are already full. What dream of yours needs to die?