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– Jennie Allen –
It is probably no coincidence …
that the hotel room of choice for my wife and I on this particular night was only a short distance from Dyersville, Iowa, the location for the 1989 movie classic “Field of Dreams”. Just as farmer Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) flipped a failing family business upside down by building a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field in response to a “build it and he will come” voice, there just come those times in all of our lives when everything but success is staring us in the face and we become desperate for breakthrough, a new chapter, a new season, the ability to breathe again and not feel like a hostage in some twisted parallel dark universe.
But what happens when that one finally here ‘shining moment” turns out to be (for the umpteenth time) an oncoming train in a tunnel without end? Perhaps part of the draw of “Field of Dreams” is that everyone can relate with failure, brokenness and heartbreak on some, if not many levels in life. Kinsella’s magical reconnection with his dad over a game of catch tugs at unfulfilled hopes so deep in most of our hearts, there are often no words sufficient to describe the hunger for a turnaround . . for that feeling and sense of being alive again versus churning your way through another “empty” day without true peace and realized purpose.
For my wife and I, the rear view mirror of our adventure easily remembers the day God asked us to let go, get small . . and be ready for a new season of ministry for His glory instead of our ease. However, we never imagined how much we were being called to release in Jesus’ name . . we never could have predicted how small “small” could really be. Though confident we have walked towards Him and his leading, we have found a path that has far too often (for our liking) befriended heartbreak and vulnerability . . a path that necessarily takes all of us who are willing to lay down life as usual for Christ and carry our appointed cross . . to an appointment in Dyersville. God’s plan for His chosen ones this side of heaven (just as it was for His Son) will never bypass the necessary hour of temptation that wrestles with dejection, disillusionment, despondency, demoralization, despair and depression.
That is what is unique
about the “Dyersville’s” in all of our lives …
for while we all come to events and circumstances along the way where we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again, the “Dyersville’s” are all about “empty” and “powerless” and pure 100% exhaustion . . no time for pep talks for that would imply we can internally summon the resources, strength and creativity to rebuild, reignite and relaunch. Instead, God desires to lead us sooner or later to that unmistakable corn field where we find ourselves on fumes knowing that “He and only He can win the day” and equally aware that we are truly powerless without Him.
While breakthroughs, promotions, advances have their time and place, true Kingdom sojourners come to understand that times of greatest intimacy, connection and victory in our walk with God are only available on a field of broken dreams.
Consider these 5 (among many)
Biblically-grounded reassuring truths
for all of our “fields of broken dreams” …
The Lord is Close
Precisely at those messy, gut-wrenching “God must be a million miles away” moments is when He is closer than ever. While the Enemy seeks to plant the accusation in our soul that you have been “hung out to dry” and left completely alone, it is God’s Word in Psalm 34:18 which states “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The promise is not simply Divine presence but ultimate protection from ever being separated from His presence for those who are humble enough to admit their need for a Savior. (Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 147:3)
Hopeless Is Only One Step Away From Hope-Full
It is one thing to remember and draw encouragement from Biblical history which is loaded with examples of men and women in brutal circumstances who were rewarded with renewed supernatural hope in exchange for their faith. As it states in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” I like the way Nicki Koziarz described her faith-walk through Dyersville, “I could find hope because Abraham and Sarah found hope by believing God would give them a child in their old age (Genesis 15, Genesis 17, Genesis 18) . I could find hope because Ruth and Naomi found hope by trusting God would provide for them after they lost their husbands (Ruth 3). I could find hope because Mary and Martha found hope when Jesus raised their brother from the dead (John 11).”
Yet, finding “Hope-Full” is not limited to looking back . . in Christ, we have the the luxury of “looking up” from our field of broken dreams and seize the truth of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even in the darkest most overwhelming times of uncertainty, God is working for our good without fail. (Romans 5:5; 1 Peter 1:3)
This Is Your God-Ordained Worship Spot
So often, Christian culture dictates high-level involvement and all-things commitment to “the weekend” and beyond in the enterprise of a local church as the chief expression of worship and gratitude to God. While Christ-followers are called to not neglect coming together and faithfully employing their gifts (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 4:10), we easily forget that Jesus was wary of religious boxes as potential dead-end roadblocks to a life of faith where “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Like the thirsty and spiritually bankrupt Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well, our greatest act of worship begins in our barren field of broken dreams where we hunger and thirst for something . . namely, Someone . . who can satisfy the deepest longings of our soul.
The “Dyersville’s” of our lives are God’s renewed invitation to remember that true worshipers don’t first and foremost need preoccupation with religious exercise nor the hollow trappings of this sin-sick world; they need to come to the only true Well . . the place where Jesus is our “enough”. When we remember to honor Him above all else and praise Him in our times of greatest “empty”, His unshakable promise is “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (Psalm 107:9; Matthew 5:6)
Your Calling Is Clarified
One of the greatest promises in all Scripture is found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” A supernatural provision of mercy, grace and peace is reserved for those who are denied in Dyersville, but God never intended for it to be hoarded – instead it uniquely positions us to come alongside others seeking a Divine trajectory in time of greatest discouragement.
If you find yourself today in the middle of a field of broken dreams, heaven’s calling could not be more clear: leverage your broken instead of lamenting your loss – be prepared to comfort with the comfort you have received. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
When There Is No Room For Redirection, There Can Only Be A Resurrection
So often the American pulpit is reduced to portraying the gospel as means to a more protected, enriched, prosperous, upwardly-mobile, sickness-free life – failing to point loudly and clearly to the true victory that was secured for all time on the cross via the empty tomb. In that context, Jesus gets reduced to the role of ‘enhancer” but of course came for so much more. No where is that contrast more visible than events in and around the death of Lazarus as recorded in John 11. Martha and Mary were troubled by Jesus’ timing – some Jews questioned why Jesus was “too weak” to prevent Lazarus’s death.
Yet, Lazarus’ death and four-day stint in the grave is a gift to everyone who finds themselves in a “Dyersville” moment. All chances and hopes for averting ultimate tragedy had evaporated . . prevention would have been preferred . . redirection of a not-good-chain-of-events would have been welcomed . . instead hope itself seemed to be hanging in the balance . . and when Jesus appeared four days after Lazarus’ death, it would be Martha who blazed the way for everyone who finds themselves overwhelmed in a field of broken dreams when she stated, “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him”. Jesus’ fore-ordained response was to have the stone which sealed the tomb of Lazarus removed which required faith not of this world among family and friends, and in turn he loudly pronounced, “Lazarus, come out!”
What dreams have died …
in your evolving life-story that leave hope hanging in the balance? When death seems to have swallowed life in your Dyersville, don’t be surprised when the Master asks you to move the stone of unbelief and turn your tomb of defeat into a temple of triumph. God is close, new hope is about to pour all over you and it is time to reaffirm Him as your enough and your supply of comfort to both embrace . . and to refresh-forward to others in time of heartbreak. Something unforgettable is about to explode to life . . right in the middle of your . . field of broken dreams.
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