Generally speaking, most people have a few set hopes and dreams for their life. Most young people want to get married, start a family, secure a position in society and remain influential, culturally.
Beginning with this basic framework, two streams emerge: One is content with accomplishing basic primal instincts. This first stream conducts life in a relatively civil manner. The other stream is more ambitious and wishes to impact the world in which they reside. Here is the potential disaster that this second group will face:
Suppose that you have a dream. This is a dream that you just can’t release from your mind. It drives you. It might even control you. You might be obsessed over it. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Your dream is most likely noble in character. You want to make money to tithe regularly. You want your ministry to impact more than one hundred people. You want to be loved and appreciated by your community. You want to get married and have an “x” amount of kids. You want to maintain a certain lifestyle level. You want to make a historical impact and leave a great legacy.
There can be various ways in which the above will come to pass in your life. But what if I told you that there is a chance that your dream will not come true? What if I told you that there might be a change of direction in your future. What if I told you that whatever you conconted in your mind does not necessarily fit into your life story? Would you still be content in life? Would you still be satisfied? What would your reaction be?
What if I told you that God intentionally wants to take your dream and smash it into a million pieces? What if I said that the dream you have in your mind is mediocre compared to what God has prepared for you. How would you react if God came to you directly to take that dream out of your hand to give it to someone else? What if the dream you had percolating in your mind for over two decades was meant for someone else to accomplish?
I want to tell you a short story that substantiates what we have been discussing above.
David was God’s chosen King over Israel. God took him from the pasture and placed him in a palace (1 Chr. 17:7). God took away his shabby shepherd clothing and gave him a wardrobe reserved for royalty. God loved David so much that the bible says he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). David was also a dreamer. He had a dream to build a huge temple for the God that He loved.
David’s dream was noble in character. David was ashamed that his residence was a house of cedar and the ark of the covenant remained under a tent (1 Chr. 17:1). This dream of David kept him awake at night. Every breathing moment of his existence was preoccupied with this dream. He wanted it so badly. He justified in his mind the validity of this dream. He even shared his dream with other people. His dream was contagious. He had no problem in gathering a huge team to accomplish this feat. He had the resources. He had the energy. He had the charisma. He had the talent. He had the money. He had the right knowledge. Even his heart was supposedly in the right place. There was absolutely no logical reason why his dream would not come to pass.
What happened next was a situation ripe for complete and utter personal and professional meltdown.
Nathan the Prophet was assigned to be the bearer of the bad news. He was carrying the dream of David in a crystal vase. Moments later, this fragile vase of a dream would be shattered right before the watching eyes of David.
Here is what the Lord wanted to say to David:
It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in (1 Chr. 17:4).
Can you allow these words to sink in for a few seconds? This moment reminds me of the deafening silence right after a catastrophe occurs. You see the people around you, gripped by the reality and stunned by silence. There is a thick smoke in the air. Debris and collateral damage begin to find its way back to the ground. In a dazed stupor, you find your balance and begin to look around you. What. just. happened.
As you begin to regain a sense of consciousness, God says that He is not finished with what He had to say. Here is what He says to David: Instead of you building me a house to dwell in, here is what is going to happen. I will build you a house. A house that is not temporal or physical but eternal and perpetual (1 Chr. 17:10-15).
Did you see what just happened? Did you catch it? God blew up David’s dream and replaced it with His own. He says, David — I love you and I want what is best for you — I want your dreams to come true — But you need to realize that the dreams that will come true are the ones that I implanted into you! These are divine dreams that inevitably will bring me the glory I desire and rightfully deserve!
Instead of David building God a house, God promises to build David a house. A kingdom that will be established not temporarily but eternally.
Your reaction to the shattered dream will reveal the true condition of your heart. God wants to grant you the desires of your heart. But He wants to do in a way that brings Him maximum glory. God wants to take our dreams, detonate a bomb that will shatter them to pieces, and in the middle of that wreckage, He wants to implant something that even our wildest imagination could not come up with.
Here is what David’s reaction was: He began to worship God. He began to exalt God. He began to thank God. David affirms God’s will in His life. David says: There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you (1 Chr. 17:16-27).
Jesus is our greater dream. Whatever dream we have, whatever ambition we carry, Jesus is greater. Jesus is greater than any dream that I have. Jesus is better than any goal that I set.
If this is our mindset, then we will not have to deal with collateral damage when our dream is shattered before our eyes. If we can only understand this concept, our whole entire life would be radically altered. Our perspective on things that happen in our life would look much different. We would be much calmer. We would experience far less anxiety.
What matters is not that your dream is fulfilled but that your hope is firmly placed in Jesus and Jesus alone. Your dreams cannot take the place of Jesus. Your dreams unmistakably fall short of those that Jesus has to offer.
God wants to shatter your dreams not because He wants to take away your joy. God wants to shatter your dreams because they are too small, too mediocre and too narrow. God wants you to understand that His Son Jesus Christ, whom He sent to earth to die on the cross in your place — is your greater and greatest dream — and it is a coherent reality — one that you can live in — every single day.
Question: What has been your response when God has shattered your dream? How are you preparing for the moment when God will shatter your dream and replace it with his own?