One of the great dream stories of our day bears a striking resemblance to part of God’s dream journey.
As a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent, Susan Boyle pursued her lifelong dream of a successful singing career. At forty-seven, her age, pleasant but non-striking appearance, and shyness caused the judges and crowd to initially be condescending and dismissive of her. Perhaps you saw later how her introduction and opening interview were met with mock smiles and derisive nods by the panel of judges. A few chuckles even arose from the crowd as this misguided dreamer shared her dream.
Then Susan began to sing.
Mouths flew open, applause exploded, and a star - or should I say a dream - was born.
On the surface, the title of her flagship song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” taken from the musical Les Misérables, seemed perfect for the dream-come-true story of this middle-aged phenom. The irony, however, is that the song is really quite depressing. It is the story of a person who has completely given up on dreaming and the song ends with the line, “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”
What a disheartening statement. How tragic and sad…and how oft repeated. But the story didn’t end there for Susan Boyle - she robbed the song of its meaning! This amazing lady defied all odds and rode one of the world’s most famous “dead dream” songs to her own dream. Incredible. A song about the loss of a dream has now brought inspiration to millions.
A dirge birthed a dream.
God sang one of those songs. His dream had barely begun when the Father of Lies, the dream-stealer, misrepresented His heart to Adam and Eve. “God’s holding out on you,” was satan’s accusation. “You should come out from under His controlling oppression so you can really dream some big dreams.” (see Genesis 3:1-7)
What a perversion of truth!
God had already invited Adam and Eve into the most amazing dream partnership ever. He had just created time for them (there’s a brain teaser), had fashioned the earth and its incredible bounty for them to steward and enjoy, and had begun the process of relating to them as His family, friends, and co-dreamers. Paradise and unimaginable bliss awaited these first two humans and their eventual family.
Tragedy struck, however, when Adam and Eve bought into satan’s dream-stealing lie. Immeasurable pain ensued, and God’s dream became a nightmare. As in Les Miserablés, life had tried to kill His dream. It looked as though the Creator’s dream was dead before it had fully begun. From all appearances, the dream-stealer had won.
But God is an incurable dreamer and refused to give up on His dream! He had, in fact, already planned for this potential setback and was ready with an audacious and incredible plan for the redemption of the dream. It was brilliant, spellbinding, and, though successful, very painful.
When God sent His Son to rescue the dream, Christ stepped onto the stage of life and began singing. And what amazing songs He sang. Songs of love, peace, and healing rolled off His lips and out from His hands. Lepers were cleansed, and rotting skin was replaced by healthy tissue. Sightless eyes were filled with wonder as they saw the world around them for the first time. Outcast prostitutes felt clean and pure again, paralytics walked, and dead people lived again.
But suddenly, like the high-pitched screech on a beginner’s violin, a horrible sound was heard. Love’s music stopped, and hate’s song began. Redemption's song was replaced with a dirge, much like the song Susan Boyle sang.
What horrible lyrics were heard as the Author of life and Giver of hope was beaten and tortured. Satan was the songwriter and it seemed that hell itself became the orchestra. In the person of His Son, God’s very own blood and mangled flesh - along with history’s ultimate injustice - was paraded before His taunting abusers. Mocking laughter and derisive jeers from satan’s kingdom celebrated the apparent final death of God’s dream.
But for the Prince of Darkness, something began to go horribly wrong. The Son of God persevered in singing death’s dirge, and as He did, the hideous lyrics were overpowered by His love, power, and purity. In heaven’s gallery, a glimmer of hope began to emerge. Could it really be? Yes, the impossible was happening! Through Jesus’s shed blood, death was losing its sting, the grave its victory, the destroyer his hold on humanity.
Death’s dirge was birthing a dream!
In the greatest turning of the tables in human history, God was stripping the dream-stealer of his power and using his own song to do it! Death lost, life won! When Christ shouted, “It is finished,” the music changed, death’s song died, and dream’s song was reborn. Not only God’s but ours.
I know many of you have seemingly had your dreams stolen by life. I want you to keep reading. I want you to dream again. I want you to know that God Himself had His dream stolen but refused to give up. And just as He recaptured His dream, He knows how to turn your dirge into a dream song.
Never forget, there was a point in time when the comforting words, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus,” would have been horrifying beyond belief by all of heaven. Yet God turned the words into an eternal anthem of hope.
At the Royal Palace of Tehran, in Iran, you can see one of the most beautiful mosaics in the world. The ceilings and walls flash like diamonds in multifaceted reflections. But to create this priceless work, the architect had to rob destruction of its power.
Originally, when the palace was designed, the architect specified huge sheets of mirrors on the walls. When the first shipment arrived from Paris, they found, to their horror, that the mirrors were shattered. The contractor threw them in the trash and brought the sad news to the architect. Amazingly, he ordered all of the broken pieces collected, then smashed them into tiny pieces and glued them to the walls where they became a mosaic of silvery, shimmering, mirrored bits of glass.(1)
The Architect of life has designed some wonderful dreams for you. If you’ve been broken, through that brokenness, He wants to create a mosaic of His glory and present you to the world as a testimony of His grace and love. Joseph kept dreaming in his prison and ultimately reflected the mosaic of kingly wisdom and godly virtue (see Genesis 28-50). David kept dreaming, even as an outcast living in the caves of Adullam, and eventually revealed what a man after God’s heart looked like (see 1 Samuel 18-31).
God has plans and designs for you, as well. For some, they’ll be new dreams; for others, they will be broken dreams reconstructed by the Master Dreamer Himself as He transforms your dirge into an anthem. Allow Him to reconstruct, restore, or even recreate His dream inside of you so you can, once again, sing His song and reflect His glory.
You were born to dream.
Pray with me:
Father, You were determined to allow nothing to conquer Your dream. You have proven that life conquers death, good conquers evil, and You will ultimately win. Thank You for sending Jesus to become one of us in order that we could become a member of Your great family.
We pray today for those who have seen their dreams shattered, stolen, or lost. Let them know You are He who heals broken hearts and restores our dreaming nature. When Your ways are followed, You bring forth beauty, in Your time. Heal those experiencing hope deferred and give them the help they need to dream again.
We pray once again for the fulfillment of Your dream of a billion souls saved in our generation. Pour out Your Spirit in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, Canada, South America, North America, and every inhabited island of the sea. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, we command into the earth now, in the name of Jesus.
We declare: for every shattered dream, God has a mosaic of beauty in mind.
Today’s post was taken from my book Dream.
[Dutch Sheets Dream, Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012), pp 33-37.]
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Alice Gray, More Stories for the Heart (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1997), p 220.