This is a guest post from TheNorEaster, hope it blesses!
A TheNorEaster Post.
An old buddy of mine from high school recently committed suicide.
I cried myself to sleep the night I got the news, praying passionately and begging God to have mercy upon him.
John was the last person I would ever expect to take his own life. He always was quick with a joke, and his laughter was contagious.
When I got the news, I was fortunate enough to be with my best friend, who eventually asked, “How many is that?”
“And the people you were especially close to.”
“Mike shot himself, Ken’s two neighbors had some kind of ritual, Adrian stabbed his social worker to death to get shot by a cop, Judy’s killer hung herself in prison after beating her to death with a sledgehammer, Neal’s father-in-law shot himself, I don’t know how Kim did it, and then there was Britany, Terry, Nancy.
“And now, John. That’s ten, I think. It wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many.”
Each new loss compounds the previous ones. And I kept wondering when it all would end, when my grief would finally pass — when I could, at long last, get on with my life.
As I write these words now, I realize these trials are my life. And that the only way anyone can ever avoid grief is pure apathy.
I grieve because I care. And I mourn because I have loved.
If there ever was a way to love somebody without ever getting hurt, or burned, even betrayed — Well, I sure wish somebody would put it in The Suggestion Box.
I’d be lying if I said that I am not angry at John. He left behind a wife. Two children. But, I also know, from what I know, that John covered his own wounds very well.
Until the blood of his wounds soaked through the bandage.
It has been said that America is “The Land of Opportunity.” And we are taught to pursue our dreams with ferocious tenacity — be it writing a book or making music or simply starting a family.
In the midst of it all, we sometimes forget that life is not, at all, fair. That those who live good and respectable lives come upon atrocious times. And that those who do achieve their dreams — even one as seemingly simple as starting a family, like John — do indeed have their own wounds with which to contend.
As I consider this, I cannot help but wonder — What is the purpose of a dream?
To achieve? To inspire? To be rich? Or famous?
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
God sure does everything backwards, doesn’t He?
So, is it just possible that the relentless pursuit of a dream is a symptom of our spiritual poverty? Doesn’t Scripture tell us to be content? And yet, how can we possibly be content if we always want to be where we are not?
I am very much aware that those questions do sound discouraging. And, in fact, they are discouraging — until we consider the truth behind Psalm 37:4:
“Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
For the longest time, I thought that passage was some sort of trade off, that if I took “delight in the LORD” then my dreams certainly would come true.
But, I realize now that what I have wanted — and even what I still do want — is so very rarely what God wants.
And that is why, to be sure, that delighting in the Lord does not mean getting what we want, but instead means that God gives us desires in our hearts to serve Him — in humility, with gratitude, and, above all, out of love.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
And if my dreams must die that I may yet have a measure of greatness in the eyes of God, if I still must endure the terrible loss of my old buddy, if I need struggle with depression to run the race, if I must face my own foolishness in my fourth suicide attempt last year, if being broken is the cross I must carry in this life to see my precious Father face to Face…
…I’d say a few broken dreams cannot possibly compare to such heavenly glory.
“Sunset is Morning.”
Please check out TheNorEaster’s terrific blog at: http://thenoreaster.wordpress.com/