Lately there has been some interesting - and, dare I say it? philosophical - discussions in our house about the Disney classics - the princesses, the princes, and the values that are portrayed. A big value that is hammered into small children through these movies relates to dreams, that if you dream long and hard enough, and if you have faith and patience, your dreams will come true. And we all smile and feel warm and fuzzy and sentimental about that message, as we watch puppets become real boys, mermaids become humans, servants become princesses, beasts become dashing princes, and sleeping ladies wake to ride off to a castle in the clouds.
I just finished reading a book that admits that isn't how life works, even for good people, godly people. And it doesn't matter how hard we pray, wish, or dream, the pain remains, the questions go unanswered, our plans for ourselves and our loved ones do not turn out the way they should. Some dreams that we have either shatter or remain unfulfilled, and because of that, we wonder if God is really good, if he really cares. We cry out to him for intervention, or even to feel his presence, and he remains silent and seems to us to be inactive.
Thing is, God never promised that all our dreams would come true in this life - that was Disney. God never cooed to us that we deserve every happiness in this life - that was Disney. Notice that I said "in this life." We are made for another time and another place, and if we trust in Jesus and abandon ourselves to him, then one day in heaven all our dreams will come true - ten fold, in ways that are exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. And it's forever! Imagine, your wildest dreams coming true forever and never ending, never getting old or worn out, never dying! But in this life, our dreams - even the really good and honorable ones - are at best temporal, and certainly nothing compared to the dreams God dreams for us.
His dreams are focused on eternity, and based on bringing praise and glory to Him. And the more we press into him, find our joy and delight in him, and fall passionately in love with him, the more beautiful and perfect and thrilling that dream will become to us. But to accomplish his dreams, we must surrender our dreams and allow them to be shattered. We've got to let go of our best in order to grab on to God's best.
And those moments when he seems silent, distant, unconcerned, unaware, inactive? He is not. He is always listening, always working. One (of many) of my favorite quotes from the book is this: "When God seems most absent from us, He is doing his most important work in us... He vanishes from our sight to do what he could not do if we could see him." We must stop assuming things based on our emotions and remember the truth that never fails: he will never leave us or forsake us.
To understand and live in these truths takes a lot more than reading a book or writing a blog. It takes a lot of pain and surrender and silence to develop the kind of faith and trust needed to embrace God's dreams. There is so much more to say about this, but I pray this will encourage you: Do not lose heart! Though outwardly our bodies and plans and dreams are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day in the image and attitude of our Lord Jesus.