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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Shattered Dreams, Faith and Hope

I have written elsewhere that I don't believe in resolutions. So this post offers some thoughts about the past year and some expectations for the "new" one.  I am not strict on the concept of new vs. past year. I don't see time in this manner, especially when it comes to what God does in our lives.  

2010 brought some shattered dreams.  I have borrowed this term from Larry Crab's book with  same title.  This book has offered some insights as to why God has permitted some things to happen in our lives.  People often think that God will grant us what we "dream" or want but this isn't necessarily so.  I've had many desires, needs and "dreams" that were not materialized.  I don't blame God nor do I think He owes them to me.  I know one thing though, my shattered "dreams" have brought me to the understanding that my joy should be in God, in seeking him, in knowing him, in serving him. That should be my priority this year.   Among the shattered "dreams" God has restored my hope in Him. 

I am thankful for some of the outcomes from these experiences. Here are some of the the outcomes of my shattered dreams:

1. Finding God.  
In order to find God we have to be stripped away from everything that takes us captive.  It may be our jobs (or lack thereof), our desires, our dreams or even a person.  When we start experiencing these trials then we call upon God.  We realize that we can't hold on to anything in this world. That our sole trust should be in God.  When God becomes our focus then we will experience joy even in the midst of trials.   Crab says in Shattered Dreams:  "But it's in the pain that we discover our desire for God, and it's in the frustration of that desire that we come to realize how sturdy it is....To whom shall we go? Moving toward anything else we might desire is idolatry and foolishness.  Only God has the life our souls desperately need.  We come to really believe that."  (p. 87)

This is exactly the path I have taken this year. God has become more real.  I see the Scriptures differently as if my eyes have been opened and now I see a different perspective. In turn, I see people differently.  I don't claim perfection, it is a work in progress. And often I want to regress. 

2. Finding Faith and Hope.
I am learning that my faith and hope is not in a person but in God.  Interestingly, I have been reading and studying up on Hebrews 11.  Many of the man and women of God in the past never got their dreams fulfilled. But their hope was not in this Earth. Verse 39 says: "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (NIV) 

3. Finding better relationships.
As a result of the trials experienced, my relationship with my wife has improved.  I see her differently.  I realize that God has truly blessed me by having partner like her in my life for over 20 years.  There is so much that I have learned through her.  Then my son has also played a part as well. He is now left to study in DC and in not having him around I have understood what it means to love a son, especially when you have to let him go.  It is so exciting to see him becoming a man on his  own and see how God has brought a special person into his life.  

4.  Finding a community of faith.  
We joined a new church last year. We have some really wonderful people that I can't imagine not  having them be part of our lives.  I am not speaking generic here.  There are some specific people that have brought a special blessing to our lives. Of different ages. You know who you are.  We have reconnected with others as well and God has blessed us even more. You know who you are.  And God continues to bring others to be part of our journey.

But I also expect God to help me in the plans for this year.  Some of there are:
1. Our two trips to Latin America with Women For World Health that specializes in medical aid to those who have no means.  One will be in April and the other one in August.  This should be exciting.
2. Ministering to young people who yearn for God.
3. _______________(Many other things that God will fill as we move along)
4.  Learning and re-learning what I shared already.
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