Authored by Janet Kluck (guest contribution)
We all have them: plans that didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, prayers that seem like they didn’t make it past the ceiling, dreams that break and are shattered as we wonder what went wrong. We go on, leaving behind broken dreams and seemingly unanswered prayers, but often they remain etched in our mind along with a question mark. Why didn’t things turn out the way I had planned, or hoped, or prayed?
What is a broken dream, anyway, but an idea of a path, or somewhere we thought our life should go but that led us elsewhere. We made a turn, somewhere, where life seemed to fall apart, or we lost our way and missed it somehow.
Being the flawed human beings that we are, we usually think we’ve failed. We begin to blame ourselves, or others, and carry a weight of failure or disappointment around, sometimes for years. If we blame others, that can be a heavy weight to carry, and until we give it up and forgive, it has the power to taint and mar the joy in our life so much that life itself can become a sad and weary experience.
In the animated film, Joseph, King of Dreams, there is one scene where Joseph, after having been sold by his brothers as a slave and taken to Egypt, has been brought by Potiphar and is seen scrubbing the floor. Pictures jump into his mind of his brothers laughing and mocking him. It’s clear in the movie that he is holding on to resentment and anger, making his tasks miserable. Of course, if anyone had a right to be angry and sorrowful, it would have been Joseph at that time in his life. He had been betrayed by the very ones who should have protected him and stood up for him—his own family. Only God knows what plans Joseph had for his future, but they broke to pieces and were scattered among the sands on his long trek to Egypt. Now a slave in a land far from home, any hope he might have had for his future was lost.
But as we know, and as Joseph grew to learn, the story didn’t end there. After going through many more hardships and difficulties, Joseph saved the future of a nation, and his family at the same time. And through all that God did for him, he learned just how vast and perfect God’s plan is. God can take the most terrible occurrences and transform them into hope and a future. The dreams Joseph dreamt as a child did come true, just not in the way he had thought or planned and probably not in a way that would fit in his furthest imagination.
The way we tend to judge things to be either “a success” or “a failure” is often such a keyhole-sized view. We peer inside and see only a tiny glimpse, which confirms, once again, a sad, sad acceptance of our failure. But if we could only see our lives from a bigger, more complete perspective, so many other elements and colors and highlights would come into view, and that tiny image would be transformed into the marvelous masterpiece that it truly can be, and probably is, in God’s eyes.
Imagine a gorgeous painting hanging on the wall of an apartment. It was painted by a great artist. It contains contrasts of images, colors, shapes, and elements when you look at it in its entirety. But you’re not inside the apartment, so the only chance you have of seeing it at all is to look through the keyhole. You catch only a small glimpse of the darkest, most shadowed section. You think, “What a dark and depressing painting. Why didn’t the artist use brighter colors or grace the canvas with more light?”
This is so often our perspective of our own lives. We focus on the dark spots, the losses and perceived failures, all the while our life is a beautiful and colorful, joyful, and bright painting, which we are currently viewing through a tiny keyhole. Maybe those dark spots in our lives could mean a broken friendship, a painful breakup, something fun falling through, or perhaps a feeling that our goals and dreams are slowly being swept away by life just being the way it is—complicated, busy, and not always in our favor.
All that can change! Did you ever hear the saying, “God can mend a broken heart, if you can give Him all the pieces”? If we try to figure God out or try to fully understand His plan for our lives, forcing things to fit into our very limited perspective, we will only be disappointed in ourselves and Him when things don’t happen the way we dreamed and hoped.
But if we have the faith to give Him the shattered pieces, and trust Him to work with them as He knows is best, we will find that dreams can be mended and realize that all is not lost. How can this happen? When does it happen? In His perfect way and in His perfect time. We, as humans, are stuck in the bounds of space and time. God, on the other hand, sees things differently. To Him, everything is happening according to His great plan, especially for those things we entrust to His care and perfect love.
I read recently that we cannot disappoint God. And it’s true, we can’t. Not because we shouldn’t, but because He already knows that we can’t be perfect and He is right here in the middle of our failures, setbacks, and yes, even sins, and still loves us with more intensity, care, and compassion than we can begin to comprehend.
All He wants is our heart and our acknowledgment that we need Him in our lives. It’s so easy to try to figure it all out alone, to take the broken pieces of our dreams and start trying to put them together again ourselves. All the while, He is nudging us, asking us to let Him do the piecing to create something even better for us. But sometimes we’re so busy with those shattered remains, and the tiny, limited understanding of the way we want things or think they should be, that we leave Him out of it.
When that happens, He lovingly and patiently waits for us to come to the end of ourselves and our futile attempts to fix things so that He can then pick up the pieces of our broken dreams and make them so much better than we were able to dream up on our own.
He, who is only love, has His own dream for our lives. He, who has only our best interests in mind, stands waiting with a paintbrush ready to paint into reality His dream of a life full of splashes of light and blends of color, depth, and texture.
This is a dream that will not break. All we have to do is let go and let Him make something beautiful.
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International