Nothing like a book called Shattered Dreams to start out the new year, huh? 🙂
Well, we all have them. Larry Crabb’s book Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy is the best book I’ve ever read about what to do with them. Through the eyes of Naomi from the book of Ruth, Crabb unpacks the journey of a Christ-follower whose dreams have been shattered.
So often, when bad things happen, we put a “God works all things together for good” band-aid on it, apply triple antibiotic prayer and expect healing – or at least an easing of the pain. Crabb calls this Christian Buddhism – attempting to deaden the pain by lessening the desire for something.
But what happens when:
The cancer comes back.
The infertility treatment doesn’t work.
The rebellious teen doesn’t return.
The spouse that walked out marries their lover.
You don’t get the job.
You do lose the house.
Western Christianity has a warped sense of God that suggests that as long as enough of these things end up on the “blessings” side if the equation – job, finances, spouse, children, house, hobbies, friends – we feel affirmed of God’s love. But it is hard to reconcile this with Christians on the other side of the world who are being beheaded for their faith. And, when we come at God from a place where His blessings indicate His favor, it creates a crisis of faith when troubles arise.
Put God first and you’ll have a better life. Most of us hear this regularly at church. And while I’m not saying it isn’t true, the crux is that God gets to define what better means. Secretly, we all hope that better means more of the things we love and long for. These don’t even have to be materialistic – sometimes the better we long for are things like children, ministry, health.
What Crabb suggests – and this isn’t novel – is that perhaps God is shattering our dreams of lesser things – yes, lesser things like children, ministry, health – to increase our desire for a better thing. What is new about Crabb’s approach is what we are supposed to do with the very real, very legitimate pain we feel when these dreams are shattered. Perhaps that pain has a purpose and making it go away shouldn’t be the goal.
This is book provides encouragement, validation, hope and insight to any who are on or have been on a journey through shattered dreams – pick it up.
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