Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not (Acts 7:25 — the basis of what follows comes primarily from Exodus 2:1-22).
Those words are the sound of broken dreams. You've been there, haven't you? Preparation, plans, and prayer — just like the preacher preached it in his neat little sermon — and then the moment comes when you are ready to do what you dream and there's a crash and all your dreams are lying at your feet like broken shards of glass! You feel lifeless, hollow, and without the will to push on any longer with those dreams, so you leave them there and move on.
Moses had been prepared as both a Hebrew boy and an Egyptian prince. Yet over the first four decades of his life, the suffering of his fellow Israelites captured his heart and stirred his dreams. He had thought that when the right moment came, as an Egyptian prince, he could make a difference. He had "thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them." The sad reality is that "they did not."
Moses' shattered dreams put his own life at risk and left him without a people and without a dream. But Moses demonstrated he had not lost his character when he lost his dreams. After he had run from Egypt, he defended the seven daughters of Reuel from some brutish shepherds at a well where they were watering their herds. God used this character to provide Moses a wife, a family, and forty years of desert experience that he would need to do what he had once dreamed: "his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them."
Moses ultimately was known as the friend of God, who spoke to God face-to-face (Exodus 33:11). He was the greatest leader the nation of Israel had until Jesus. In fact, Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise that God would send His people another prophet like Moses, yet greater than Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15). Moses' dreams weren't shattered at forty years of age when he had to run for his life; they were modified, deferred, and deepened in ways he couldn't have imagined at the time. As Stephen so eloquently said it:
This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, "Who made you ruler and judge?" He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness (Acts 7:35-36).
What about your dreams? You know, the ones from long ago that you put on the shelf because you saw them as only empty hopes or shattered wishes or fanciful youthful dreaming. What is God doing in your life to reshape those dreams, deepen them and expand them in ways you couldn't have imagined when they first stirred your heart? Sure, they may not look exactly the same as they did when you first dreamed them, but as you've journeyed with God, what has the leading of His Spirit morphed them into today?
If Moses' life teaches us anything, it is this: life is a journey, not a destination. And for this journey, we need traveling mercies — the power, grace, and mercy of the living God who can take broken dreams and make them more than we ever could have imagined. And if you don't believe it, read the story of Moses (read the books Exodus and Numbers) and follow his journey and see what God did with him. And if you start doubting that God can do something with your broken dreams because you think you're no Moses, or Ruth, or Mary, or Saul, then start doing two things today:
- Ask for God to revive you, your dreams, and your friends of faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. (I would love to hear from you if you would like to take part in a daily renewal resource this next year called Spirit Fire where we pray daily to be filled, molded, and empowered by the Holy Spirit each day — email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Talk about the dreams God placed on your heart with others and pray for each other to see how God has prepared you for living out His dreams in your life.
The following are for your reflection and for discussion with others, like a small group, house church, or a group of friends who is helping you do #2 mentioned above. Choose one of the following two questions that most fits your situation and then answer the following questions to dig a little deeper.
Or, what is a God-dream you once had but now assume won't happen?
- How has God worked in your life, even through disappointments, to help you deepen, grow, modify, and even expand the possibilities of that original dream?
- What would keep you from pursuing that dream today — age, health, finances, lack of faith, or what?
- Who is someone with whom you can share this dream and possibly implant this dream that might advance it in the future?
- What parts of the dream can help you set the foundation and do the groundwork that would allow it to be done in the future?
- Who is someone that is doing part or all of your dream that you can become a prayer warrior and support through your prayer and finances?