I’ve never had much experience the loss. In the last 10 years it’s come a little closer to home but through people in our church. They are family too and I’ve seen that when they are lead through the valley of the shadow of death, they need someone to walk with them. Many times, they look to me to be that person and it becomes my pleasure to do so and at some point along the journey to step out of the way so Jesus can step in. He’s the one they really need.
One of my first experiences with death came in Mexico of all places. I just happened to be there during one of my summer excursions when someone in this tiny village passed away. These places are so small that when one dies, the whole town feels it.
I watch and followed as my missionary friend, Mike, processed through what he knew to do by somehow helping connect a family to hope as they stepped into the dark vast valley of death.
It was one of the most painful experiences I’d ever seen people go through. Truly devastating.
In Mexico, funerals are very personal. What I mean by that is that when a person dies, the family is on the hook to do all the work. Get a casket or make one, dig a hole in the cemetery, prepare the body for burial, prepared their home for countless people coming to visit. Gather all the family from wherever they are in the country or world to come, within the next 24 hours, to be a part of this loss.
I watched as they loaded this casket up on shoulders and walk the mile out of town to the cemetery; all the family and friends and townspeople following in support of the people who’d just lost someone so close.
What I learned and saw that day left a mark on me that will never be removed. I learned that the pain of hopelessness if the most devastating pain a person can ever endure.
What I’ve seen since then is that there are a great many people who suffer that same pain when it comes to their dreams.
That was an abrupt change in direction, but it’s the visional relatable that the Lord gave to me recently when it comes to your dreams becoming reality.
Some of you are carrying your dreams in a casket on your shoulders headed out to the cemetery where you’ve dug a grave to lay what you thought was a God-given dream to rest.
This is not what you had in mind and it’s not what you thought when the Lord gave you that dream so many years ago. You KNEW the Lord was faithful and what he gave you in that dream was going to be brought to reality. You just had to believe!
And believe you did!
You had belief upon belief but every act of determination was met with the unexpected and you just couldn’t anymore. It’s time to lay the dream to rest.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Or was it?
In Luke 7, Jesus is going about his earthly ministry and walks into a town. A little nowheresville town that, to my knowledge, is only mentioned one time in the Bible. Nain.
Ever heard of it?
Jesus walks into a funeral processional just like I described from Mexico but this one of a single widowed mom who has just lost her son. The day he walks in on this funeral is probably the very day that this boy lost his life. So quickly that his body may still be warm!
Can you imagine being that mom? You had so many hope and dream for that young man. You can look at your life and see the shambles of where you came from and the struggles of what you’ve had to endure but as long as he was alive, there was hope. You had hope that he would move on from where he started with you and make something of himself. To become strong and confident, capable and commanding. It didn’t matter what became of you so long as he was becoming successful.
But then it happened. The unthinkable! The unimaginable!
It could have been prevented. If you were just more careful. If you had been paying closer attention.
A million things are flooding through your mind right now of what you would have done differently but all of that is for nothing because he’s gone.
And then this man walks up. Makes his way through the crowds. You don’t know him but what does it matter at this point. With all else that’s gone on today, who cares.
He asks the pallbearers to lower the casket so he can see the boy. Then he crosses a line and reaches out to touch his cooling body.
And in the strangeness of this moment, he speaks to that body and tells the boy to sit up. To your astonishment, he does!
Hope is restored again!
Some of you are on your way to the cemetery today carrying your dream in a casket. I feel like you need to know today that your dream is not dead, it’s just dormant!
It hasn’t been defeated.
What you prayed for and envisioned and planned through and even altered your life over is not wasted, it’s just not the right time yet.
What if you are giving up on the very thing that the Lord wants to release in your life!?
Let me close by injecting some hope into your peripheral vision. So many times through the Word of God we see situations where the person with the dream had nothing to do with its outcome. It just came about.
Joseph. His dream, turned nightmare, turned reality and he had nothing to do with its realization.
Zechariah/Elizabeth in Luke 1. A dream of a baby, but that dream died decades before that angel met with Zech next to the Alter that day. Again, nothing he could do and he’d long since given up when the Lord chose to act.
In a sense, I believe what some of us need to know and understand is that when the Lord wants to act, you just get to be along for the ride. So buckle up and watch out for your dream!
Back me up on this! I know for each of you reading this, every one of you must have had some dream that you’d give up on at some point. Get a bit transparent with us. What is a dream that you have thought has passed away and you’d long since given up?