“Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.” – TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
I believe that the ‘instant gratification culture’ that we live in has had a direct impact on our dreams. Everything is now, now, now. We live in the moment. If it’s not easily and instantly attained, it’s not worth fighting for. It’s not worth longing for or dreaming about. Sure, we do have dreams but they seem to have been downgraded to the highly unrealistic or the ridiculously meaningless. Becoming a pop star that would have a chance to date Mr Justin Bieber or maybe him just retweeting us.*
Dreams no longer cost us anything. The essence of a dream should be the hope for something better. Instead they’ve become fantasies, where the closest they come to reality is in the deep recesses of sleep.
I watched the film adaption of Les Misérables last night (excellent, by the way) and I am always struck by the depiction of the 1832 June Rebellion in France – young men, fed up with the status quo, but willing to die to change that. They had a dream. One that had been crushed time and time again. There had been revolutions before, but change had never really happened. Yet they still put there lives on the line.
I lead the student missional community at the King’s Centre in Sheffield and one of my dreams is to see students encounter the love of Jesus for the first time and to ultimately see lives and universities transformed by the amazing love of God. This is a big dream and my heart used to ache for it. But big dreams don’t happen overnight. If we’re expecting everything to happen instantly then we can become disillusioned or discouraged. This is especially hard when you no longer ‘feel’ the dream. When you know the vision and what you’re aiming for but it doesn’t move you like it once did. It’s times like this where we can feel like giving up. I know I often do. Recently I’ve been asking God “What’s going on? What am I doing? Why am I not seeing my dreams fulfilled?” Finally I said to him: “is this dream dead or am I just not the right person to be chasing after it?”
Somewhere in my heart I heard a quiet voice say: Dreams from the Father’s heart never die.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5: “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
The gap between the initial dream and seeing it fulfilled can often involve suffering, especially when there is slow progress. But I believe God is reforming our character and bringing us to a place where our foundation is a steadfast and unwavering hope. So many people can miss out on this but restricting to their vision to ‘dreams’ that do not cost a thing. Dreams imparted by Dad’s love sometimes cost us, but they will never disappoint because they lead to hope.
Dreamers of the day are dangerous because they could change the world. But in a culture where we want everything instantly, when we see something that we know needs to change, we usually end up complaining. I heard it said recently that complaining is like negative intercession. Rather than changing the situation, it’s giving permission for it to be there and it rarely leads to people doing anything about it. Complaining does not lead to change.
This world needs a radical generation that learns to dream rather than complain. We need a people who fix there eyes on hope and are strengthened by Holy Spirit who pours love into our hearts. These people are world changers. Wake up dreamers and dream again!
- What are my dreams? (If you don’t have any, dream with the Father today!)
- How is the ‘instant gratification culture’ impacting these dreams?
- Does my complaining restrict my ability to take the steps necessary to see dreams being fulfilled?
*these are not my dreams. Honest.