ODJ: sift your dreams

January 12, 2015 

READ: Romans 13:8-14 

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you will fulfil the requirements of God’s law (v.8).

The memory is vivid. My wife Merryn and I sat in emotional pain, talking. “If this really is our last chance to have a baby and it doesn’t happen,” Merryn said, “I need something else.” We’d spent the past decade trying everything to start a family—IVF treatment, healing prayer, adoption—all without success. We now awaited the result of one final IVF round. “If it doesn’t happen,” she said, her face downcast, “I have to have something else to look forward to.”

Ironically, the previous 10 years had been fulfilling for my career. I had started a national radio show, written some books and spoken at conferences. I’d been living my dreams.

“If this IVF round doesn’t work, I’d like to start again,” Merryn said. “Overseas.” Overseas? I thought to myself. And leave all I’ve accomplished here behind? Merryn needed a new dream, but fulfilling it required relinquishing my own.

Dreams are important. But as much as our lives should be sifted of drunkenness, immorality, quarrels and jealousy (Romans 13:13), so our dreams must be sifted too—sifted by love. As Paul says, our ultimate obligation is to love each other (v.8). When sifted by love, some of our dreams may need to be reshaped, or even relinquished, so we can help others fulfil their dreams. We’re to be like Jesus (v.14), who relinquished His own dreams for us (Philippians 2:3-11). Would I do that for Merryn? I didn’t like the cost.

Well, we ultimately left Australia and moved to England where Merryn got a dream job at Oxford University. And I got an unexpected contract to write a book to help others through their own pain.

Jesus may call us to sift our dreams for others. But He often gives us some new dreams in return. —Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan› Genesis 21:8-21

Reflect on Philippians 2:3-11 and how Jesus relinquished His divine privileges so we could live. 
If your biggest dream became a reality, who else would benefit? How willing are you to relinquish a dream for another person?