Have you ever had your dreams shattered? Not just broken, but completely destroyed. I’m talking about the kind of shattering of dreams where you have to completely let go of your plans for the future. Sometimes you may not even realize that you had the dreams until you have to let go of them. We all have these “unconscious” dreams. “My children will grow up, get married and give me grandchildren,” or “When I retire, my spouse and I will travel.” These dreams seem safe and reasonable, but when our dreams are shattered, we are forced to let go of them. This shattering may come in the form of the loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, a diagnosis for a family member or even the choices others make that we have no control over. When our dreams are shattered, it is very easy to feel lost and directionless.
Joseph had his dreams shattered. Joseph had the very safe plan of getting married to Mary, a girl he knew to be faithful and godly. He would provide for her by being a carpenter, and she would care for him. They would have children together who would take care of them in their old age. This seems a very safe and simple dream, but then Mary tells him that she is with child, and his dreams are shattered. This girl whom Joseph thought he knew turns out to be neither faithful or godly. Not only that, she might be insane. She is telling him that the child she is carrying is from God. What is he to do? He cannot possibly marry her now. So he forms a different plan to quietly divorce her. He begins the painful process of letting go of his dreams to have a life with Mary.
Then an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him all that Mary is saying is true. Mary’s child is the One who will save God’s people from their sins. Joseph is to take Mary as his wife, and the child shall be named Jesus. When Joseph wakes up, he has a choice to make. His dreams have already been broken by Mary once. He had started to move on and was beginning to form new dreams. Now he would have to let go of those new dreams and place his hope in the plans of God. This couldn’t have been easy.
Joseph couldn’t see how things were going to work out, and to be fair, Joseph’s plans for his life may have been easier than God’s plans for his life. Joseph did get to take Mary as his wife and live as a carpenter and raise children with her, but in a very different way than he had planned. Through Joseph’s broken dreams God brought about hope and salvation for the world.
When we are in the midst of our brokenness and shattered dreams, we can still have hope. We can have hope that God can give us new plans or restore our plans with a new purpose. Just as he used Joseph’s broken dreams, God can use our broken dreams to bring about joy and salvation for us and for those we love.
Think of a time in the past where your dreams were broken. What happened? What changes occurred in your life. Can you name any blessings that came out of those broken dreams? How did God use that situation to bring about blessing in your life or in the life of others?