The pain of broken dreams…



Mark 14:43 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47 But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 All of them deserted him and fled.

I can imagine Jesus’ disciples holding out hope that, somehow, Jesus’ comments about being put to death were not what they sounded like. Maybe he would finally fight back at the very last moment. Maybe he was, in fact, the warrior-king his disciples were hoping for. Maybe it wouldn’t all end in heartbreak and disappointment. But it did. Jesus didn’t fight back. He allowed himself to be taken custody and, eventually, put to death. Verse 50 tells the tale:

All of them (his disciples) deserted him and fled.

It’s hard when a long-held dream finally dies. I remember in my 20s being present with a group of friends, including a close female friend who was a bit older than the rest of us – in her late-40s. One day she asked if some of us could pray with her about a particular concern. When we gathered together she told us that she had been to see her doctor. In discussing some health concerns she’d been informed that her viable child-bearing years were effectively over. She would not give birth to children of her own.

It’s not that she didn’t have a full life, but there was always a hope in the back of her mind that one day, when circumstances were right, she would have a child. It’s a dream she’d carried for a long time. With others of us surrounding her, she pulled out three slips of paper each bearing a name she’d picked out over the years for her some-day children. One at a time she lit the slips of paper on fire from a candle sitting on a table in front of us. And as she wept aloud we held onto her, and onto one another, asking God for grace to relieve the grief and loss of a dream that had died.

It happens. Dreams die.

Lord Jesus, bind up the wounds of our broken dreams. Help us to move forward with hope in the midst of grief and loss. Amen.

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