Mourning the Loss of a Dream – A Story of Hope Reborn

Mourning the Loss of a Dream - A Story of Hope Reborn

Mourning the Loss of a Dream – A Story of Hope Reborn

Much could be said about the man Jacob. He is, to many, a hero of scripture, a man who deviously sought the favor and blessings of God,  and a man who eventually encountered that same God face to face in an encounter that left him forever changed. God changed his name to Israel, and his twelve children became the ‘twelve tribes of Israel’. His role was truly one of great significance in the history of God’s people and plan for humanity.

In his old age, he had a favorite son – Joseph. Not so cool by modern parenting standards, but it was what it was. He even made a special robe for Joseph – maybe you’ve heard of the ”amazing technicolor dream coat’ musical – well this is where the origins of that story are found. I suppose it doesn’t mean that much to me, but apparently it made Joseph’s brothers furiously envious of him. It also didn’t help matters when he also told them of a dream where they all bowed down to him.

This obvious favoritism by Jacob towards Joseph eventually reached a tipping point when his brothers decided to kill him. True story. One of them eventually persuaded the rest to just sell him as a slave instead, but still – very much not cool. Then they took his ultra fancy coat, dipped it in animal blood, and brought it to their father.

31 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” 33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.” Genesis 37:31-35

The Death of a Dream

Jacob looked at the evidence laid before him and immediately came to the conclusion that Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal and torn to pieces. Any father can imagine the heartache he was experiencing in that moment. He is so overcome with grief that he rips his clothes and mourns for many days. He was fully convinced that this child who had become the apple of his eye was gone, and with him went the joy from Jacob’s life.

The tragedy of being convinced his son had been killed was only the first of the tragedies. The next tragedy happens when the sons and daughters try to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.

This event was one battle that Jacob couldn’t shake free from. He spent many years in mourning over a son who wasn’t truly lost. Later on, he gave this account of his otherwise extraordinary life, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life…” His joy was stolen.

Jacob spent an enormous portion of his life convinced that his hope, his dream, his future had died because all the evidence pointed towards that being the reality. Many years later they are reunited again, and this is what happens, “As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

I Wonder…

There’s great joy in this story, and there’s great sorrow. I can’t help but wonder what the thoughts of Jacob (Israel) were as he laid in bed that night. Obviously he was overjoyed at the discovery of his son being alive, but I wonder if he thought of all the years he had spent just assuming that he was dead. I wonder if he was angry with himself for not investigating the event more thoroughly or not going to look for him. I wonder if he regretted all the years he had spent in sorrow and mourning for a lost dream that hadn’t really died.

A Question for You

I wonder tonight as I write this, if you have a dream or a future you were certain was a gift from God, and you watched it all fall apart right before your eyes. Life brought all of the evidence and laid it at your feet, and you came to the conclusion that this hope, this dream, this future was no longer available to you. Just like Jacob, you invented a tragic scenario in your mind of all the ways this dream was destroyed, and you’ve been mourning it ever since.

But what if… What if, God in His awesome design simply removed that dream from your life for a season in order to bring about something greater than you could ever have imagined? What if, somewhere in a land you’ve never heard of, God’s plan for that dream, that future, that hope is growing and flourishing and thriving? What if that God-given dream only appeared to be dead, and at the right time, God is going to bring it back into your life on a grander scale than anything you could possibly even think or imagine right now.

My friend, the ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:29). Dare to bring your remnants of His promises before His throne again and see if He can’t bring new life to a long forsaken dream.

If you want some more inspiration in this area, check out Ezekiel 37.

About the Author

Jeremy BinnsWhen I'm not trying to save the world from the coming zombie invasion, I love my wife, hug my daughters, write, photograph, listen, observe, explore, and worship.View all posts by Jeremy Binns →

  • Max

    The problem, at least as I see it, is what to do in the meantime. It is well to say that to mourn the loss constantly was a waste of Jacob’s time, but what was he to do? Further what are we to do when trying to untangle the mess we’re in? We cannot deny that God is able, but at least in my present season it would appear I am to wait. I don’t doubt him, I doubt me. Was it a true vision from him, or an invention of my ego? Is there glory in the future or is all vanity? Until he delivers I don’t see how we can ever have the last word on what is really going on.
    He is able, and his words cannot fail. We aren’t going to struggle with the stuff he does, it’s the inventions of our minds of things he might do. How cruel we are to ourselves, stacking so much on a God who has only our best interests at heart.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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