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October 11, 2012

Shattered Dreams Part 1

Oct 08, 2012 10:01 am, Sharon

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV).

My husband and I were reveling in our time with our good friends from our college days, Larry and Cynthia Price. It had been almost a year since our last visit and I was hungry to hear of the latest family news about their children, Daniel, Julianna, and Laura Beth. While the four adults feasted on grilled teriyaki chicken, steamy baked potatoes, tossed salad with home grown sliced tomatoes, the kids ran out the door to attend the Friday night high school football game. For over an hour conversation and sweet tea flowed like a mountain stream. We were just finishing the last bites of chocolate silk pie when our laughter was interrupted by the ringing phone.

“Hello,” Cynthia answered.

I could only hear one side of the conversation, but I could tell something was terribly amiss.

“Daniel, calm down! What’s wrong? Talk slower,” she urged. “Oh God, no,” Cynthia gasped. “OK, Daniel. I’ll meet you at the hospital.”

An ashen Cynthia turned to her husband and could barely force the words out of her mouth. “Larry, Daniel said that Will took a bad hit at the football game. He went in for a tackle. They hit. Will stood up. Fell on the ground. And he never got back up. They are taking him to the hospital in Clinton.”

“Cynthia, you two go on to meet them. Don’t even think twice about us,” I assured her. “I’ll clean up and take any calls that come in.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I hate to leave you here.”

“Absolutely, now scoot!”

Before they left, we held hands and prayed for Will, his mother Luanne, his dad, Bob, and his two brothers and little sister who were all at the game.

Larry and Cynthia drove down their mile long driveway and my mind rushed back to another time fourteen years earlier when I first met Luanne Johnson. She was Cynthia’s best friend in the sleepy rural town of Rose Hill, NC, four hours from our home. She had just given birth to her third child, Bailey. Bailey was born with a hole in his heart. When he was seven months old, Luanne kissed his cheek as the doctors and nurses rolled him into the operating room to attempt to correct the defect. The physicians assured the Johnson’s that the procedure had a 98% success rate and there was no cause for alarm. While Bailey came through the surgery just fine, he developed complications a few days later and had to go back in for a second procedure. This operation was not successful. Bailey died on the operating table. Bailey died on his brother Will’s third birthday. Now this.

I pictured Luanne riding in the ambulance or perhaps following in a car close behind the blaring sirens. I recalled the words I had penned in another book, “There is an inexplicable bond that exists between a mother and her child. Even though the umbilical cord is severed in the delivery room, a cord of love connects them for the rest of their lives.” Luanne already had one deposit in heaven. The thought of a second was almost too painful to imagine.

Oh, he’ll be OK, I thought. I’d grown up in a small North Carolina town where high school football was a part of life for the entire community. When I was elementary school age, I went to Friday night games and ran around under the bleachers paying very little attention to the pigskin on the field. When I was a teenager, I was a cheerleader and knew just enough to know which cheers to yell when. My father-in-law had been a coach. Boys were constantly,“down on the play.” But they always got up. Didn’t they?

I’m not sure how much time passed, but Cynthia’s phone call startled me back to reality.

“Sharon, this is Cynthia. Will didn’t make it.”

“What do you mean ‘didn’t make it?’” I asked.

“Will died before he even got to the hospital,” she said.

Somehow the news spread through the quiet little town that Will Johnson had been hurt at the football game. All through the night I fielded calls that came to the Price’s home. Cynthia was Luanne’s best friend and Daniel had been Will’s.

The next day, the news reported the story. Will had gone in to make a tackle and when he hit the boy carrying the ball, his opponent’s helmet crashed into Will’s chest. On impact, Will’s heart had a concussion. He stood up and said, “Coach, I think I need to come out.” Then he collapsed and his heart never beat again.

I was just a visitor from 200 miles away. I didn’t know most of these people but one thing was clear. What affected one, affected them all. A mother’s dreams had been shattered and the entire town felt her pain.

Shattered dreams are a part of life. Children die, husbands leave, jobs are lost, cancer tests come back positive, proposals are rejected, teenagers rebel, houses burn, terrorists attack, and the list goes on. Part of the pain is the feeling that God has forgotten us, grown deaf to our cries, or lost our address. Zion cried, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14). David lamented, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent” (Psalm 22: 1, 2).

Even Jesus called out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) I have cried, “Where are you, God. How could you do this to me? Have you forgotten all about me?”

Then He answers, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15).

Ah, the string around His finger, the brand on his palm, the scar on His heart. No, He doesn’t forget. Join me next time as we continue looking at Shattered Dreams and the Restorer of Broken Dreams.

Let’s Pray

Dear Father, sometimes I don’t understand why things happen. Why would a tsunami take hundreds of lives? Why would a mother bury her child? But this one thing I do know. You are always good and Your ways are always good. Help me to trust Your heart when I don’t see Your hand. Help me to trust You in the dark. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Think of a time when you felt as though God had deserted you. How did He assure you that He hadn’t?

Perhaps you still feel like He has forgotten you? That’s OK to admit. I have felt that way at times myself. However, what does the truth of Isaiah 49:15 tell us?

The next time you are wondering where God is, recite His promise to you found in Hebrews 13:5. If you believe that truth today, leave a comment that says “I know God will never leave me.”

Also, that handsome young man in the picture above is precious Will.

Want More?

Today’s devotion was taken from my book, 5 Dreams of Every Woman –and How God Longs to Fulfill Them. Friend, God wants to restore your broken dreams. Grab hold of His hand and go to a place you thought you’d never find…the dream God had planned all along.

Shattered Dreams Part 2 | Sharon Jaynes

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die,” (John 11:25-26 NIV).

Have you ever had a shattered dream? In my last devotion I told the story of my friend Luanne and her shattered dream when her son died on a football field. I hope you’ll go back and read it on my blog archive, Shattered Dreams part 1, if you missed it .

In the New Testament, we find a story about two sisters whose dreams were also shattered by a death in the family. Jesus received word that one of His best friends, Lazarus, was sick. In reality, by the time the messenger had made the one day journey to inform Jesus about Lazarus’ illness, he had already died. Jesus didn’t leave right away, but tarried two days before making the journey to Bethany. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. His death shook the entire village and many Jews from surrounding cities went to mourn their loss. For these two women, their dreams for the future were bleak – no husband, no children, no father, and now, no brother to take care of them.

When Martha heard Jesus was coming, her hopes soared and she ran to meet Him.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Can you relate to Martha? Have you ever felt, Lord, if you had been here, this would not have happened to me. Where were you? Where are you now?

Then it is as if she thought better of the words that had escaped her lips and said, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has to come into the world.”

Martha went back to her home and told Mary that Jesus was on the way. Like Martha, Mary ran to meet him and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Do you see a pattern? Once again – If you had been here this would not have happened to me. Where were you?

Do you think God hurts when we hurt? Oh yes, dear sisters, God hurts. Jesus wept when he saw the pain of those around him. He wept for the two sisters and I suspect He wept for a people who did not understand the power of God.

After four days, Lazarus’ body would have already begun to decay. Make no mistake about it: God was about to do something so incredible, no one would refute His power.

Jesus ordered the stone rolled away from the mouth of the cave which served as Lazarus’ tomb. Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

o they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

And he did!

Jesus resurrected Mary and Martha’s dream.

Those of us who have lost a loved one may be thinking….yeah, but God didn’t bring my brother back. God didn’t save my child. God didn’t resurrect my dead marriage. And if you read yesterday’s devotion, God didn’t bring Will back to life.

Let’s go back to Will for a moment. Did resurrection power take place after Will’s death? His mother would say a resounding “yes.”

Luanne shared with me that just days before Will’s final football game he had said, “Mom, I’ll be glad when this is all over. Now that I’m older, I see just how unimportant all this sports stuff is.”

As Lou Ann knelt beside her boy on that football field, she begged him to keep breathing. But then, as she felt him take his last breath, his words echoed in her heart…”I’ll be glad when this is all over.”

“It’s all over, son,” Luanne whispered. “Go on home.”

At Will’s funeral a few days after his death, Luanne stood and shared the gospel message about the Jesus Will loved so much. What was the result? Thirty people attending the service committed their lives to Christ or renewed their passion for serving Him.

“Mrs. Johnson, I gave my life to Christ today.”

“Luanne I haven’t been following Jesus like I should. I recommitted my life to Him today and I’m going to get serious about my relationship with Him.”

“Luanne, our family was in a shambles and I was thinking about leaving my husband. After today, I have decided to make our marriage work. I see how important family is.”

“I have been putting my family on the back burner and letting everything and anything come before them. After today, I’m putting my family second only to God.”

The Johnson family continues to minister all across the state about the power of Jesus Christ that sustains us when our dreams are shattered. Because of Will’s death, hundreds have come to Christ, many family relationships have been restored, and churches have torn down denominational walls as the Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and Pentecostals in the tiny little town have made a historical move to worship together. Being from a small North Carolina town myself, believe me, that is a miracle.

The Bible says that before we know Jesus Christ, we are dead in our transgressions. We inherited a dead spirit from our father Adam. However, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God gives us a new heart and a new spirit that is fully alive. This is resurrection power at its best.

Why did God allow Lazarus to die? He allowed it so His Son could be glorified through it (John 11:4). Why did God allow His own Son to die on the cross? To bring salvation to all who believe? I suspect that is the same for Luanne and Bob’s son as well.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, there are some aspects of my life that have not turned out like I thought they would. There are shattered dreams and many things which I do not understand. However, I do know this. You are a loving God and nothing happens to me that You cannot use for your glory. Help me to be open to see the good in the circumstances that seem at times to be so hard. I choose to believe that You can redeem every situation in my life and use it for good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What do you Think?

Is there something that you have been praying about and perhaps you feel that God is “late?”

What can we learn about God’s timetable from today’s devotion?

In today’s devotion I quoted Jesus as saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Could it be that Jesus is saying those same words to you today?

Would you be willing to pray that God would show you the dreams He has for you?

Would you be willing to give up your unfulfilled dreams and reach forward to what lies ahead.

Read the following verse and ponder what God wants you to leave behind and what He is calling you to reach toward. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13b NASB).

If you are willing to reach forward and dream again, click over to my blog page and leave a comment on today’s blog entry that says, “I’m ready to dream again.”

Want More?

Shattered dreams are a part of life, but God has big plans for each of us. Can you risk the hope that God still has dreams for your life? That He hasn’t forgotten you? Place your hand firmly in His-take a deep breath and begin the exciting journey to a place you thought you’d never find: the dream God planned for you all along. You’ll find all this and more in my book, 5 Dreams of Every Woman and How God Wants to Fulfill Them. It also has a study guide in the back for further study.

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