As a chubby nine-year old, I dreamt of a new bike, gleaming, new. Almost resplendent. And of course, it was red. And glowing.
I promised to God that if I got one for my birthday I would clean it everyday and always lock it up in the shed at night. I closed my eyes and I could almost hear the echoing clack-clack of the playing cards on the spokes. It was chrome shiny and wonderful all over.”
I dreamt lots of things as a kid. Of space travel and kissing a girl on the bus and throwing a baseball into the Grand Canyon. My head was in the clouds, all the time it seemed.
But somewhere in the midst of marriage, kids, career and bills that never seem to stop, reality put a halt to my dreaming antics. I settled for certainty and gave up the world of wonder and imagination. Maybe that’s what they call growing up, or maturity. Maybe that’s where God ends and man begins.
For the last couple of years I’ve started to dream again. I’ve imagined riding on the clouds and screaming in delight and circling the globe with good.. I’ve dreamt of changing the world for good, starting with my family, and my neighbor, and my town. I’ve again began to imagine better things.
I have a dream,” shouted Martin Luther King in a sermon that still reverberates across the ocean of time. He saw a situation and envisioned a better day for minorities. His dream is coming true. What would have happened if he had never uttered what God had impressed on his heart?
Whether you are dreaming of world change or a silly bicycle, there are four types of dreams — Those that are fulfilled, those that are delayed, those that are denied, and those that are suppressedOf all those, the most difficult to live with are those that are suppressed. We’ve all had God put something in our hearts and then we spend our days denying it ever existed, or making excuses why it can’t be done. The shadow chases us until we finally give in. But when we don’t give in, it gives up the pursuit and finds another who is more willing.
I remember reading Genesis, when the brothers of Joseph had a little fun at his expense. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said. Leaning on each other’s shoulders, doubled over in mockery, the older brothers had quite the laugh.
The lad with the big ideas wasn’t the most popular brother. He saw things no one else could and it caused division. And so it is with dreamers. They will never be popular. They’ll be called “out of touch.” They’ll be scorned and talked about behind their backs. They’ll lose friends. But someone around here has to dream. Someone has to see things the way they ought to be. Someone has to articulate and plant the dream in fellow humans.
Maybe no one else will see that dream and you’ll spend your lifetime fulfilling it, alone with only God at your side. Such is the burden – and joy – of a dreamer.
What’s your dream? It might be a trip to China or a Chinese cooking class. It might be a ministry to the poor children, or it might be adopting one of your own. It might be a solo on Sunday morning, or a chance to learn how to play the violin. What have you always wanted to do and never pursued?
And what excuses have you thrown up to keep you from chasing that dream? Are any of them too great for God? Just speak out those excuses and see how empty they are. “I’m not skilled?” He’ll give you the ability. “I’m too old?” You might be wasting your skills, your wisdom, your experience. “I’m not experienced enough.” He can cover that too.
Joel told us that in the last days, “your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.”
Lay on your back and gaze at the clouds again.
It’s never too late to turn the dream suppressed into the dream fulfilled.