Lessons from an “Odd Life”posted on October 8th, 2012 / by Babs Coppedge / 5 Comments
Have you ever found yourself seated in a movie theater, waiting for the lights to dim and the screen to flicker to life, certain that something magical was about to unfold? Wondrously anticipating what life lessons God had woven into the fairy-tale script of a Hollywood screenwriter?
On a hot, summer night this past August, The Odd Life of Timothy Green was that movie for me. I went on a solo outing to my local theater knowing, even before I left my home, that this was not an evening to lose myself in a whimsical film. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be a cinematic catalyst to teach me about dreams and dirt.
These are two of the lessons I learned from “an odd life”.
Dare to Dream
“All good stories begin with a dream.”
The movie opens with this spoken line as Jim and Cindy Green learn that, after years of trying, they are physically unable to have children. With broken hearts, they go about their normal workdays only to return home to a furnished baby room that represents their shattered dream.
To help alleviate the anguish of the day, Jim asks Cindy to dream with him for just one night about their child that could have been. The scene unfolds as they create “Timothy” from their words, writing each individual characteristic on a small sheet of notebook paper: a heart like Cindy’s, Picasso with a pencil, musical, he would love and be loved, he would play soccer and he would never give up.
Their hearts are lifted out of heaviness as they are comforted by the courage of hope; that night they live as if they know him—their Timothy—even going so far as to become part of a fictional crowd in the middle of their living room, raucously cheering for their boy who scores the winning goal.
As I watched these parents bravely step out of their comfort zones and dare to dream, my soul stood up and cheered! In the midst of their despair, they chose to embrace the life that was lingering in that moment.
And then I wondered how many of us have forgotten about the hope that is found in the center of a dream? Have pushed aside the words of promise God has spoken over us because we’ve chosen to focus on the here and now? Or how long it had been since I’d had the guts to sit down with my husband and tangibly build our abandoned dreams, piece by imaginatively carefree piece?
Circumstances have a way of piling discouragement and doubt on us until we can’t even remember what it feels like to dream. But God has planted purpose in each of us and has spoken life into us; and just like Jim and Cindy Green, I believe He longs for us to have the courage to dream in the midst of disappointment.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 [AMP]
Don’t Be Afraid To Bury
As the elation of the moment succumbs to the emptiness of their reality, Jim and Cindy gather the paper pieces of their “son”, place them in a wooden box and bury “him” in their backyard garden.
That night, a wind blows in and rain falls only on their property, watering the very earth that covers their buried dream. The ground erupts with a thunderous crack, leaving a gaping hole where the box had once been, as the life-giving water retreats back up to the heavens. The Green’s quickly discover a young boy has been delivered out of their garden and soon realize their buried dream has been brought to life.
Like the Greens, there are times when God asks us to surrender—or bury—our dreams in order to test our love for – and faith in – Him. Abraham and Sarah dreamed of having a child for many years, with God later promising them an heir in their old age. But a time came after Isaac was born when Abraham was asked to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Abraham obeyed, even though it meant giving up his dream, and God rewarded Abraham’s faith by giving Isaac back to him, providing a ram as the sacrifice instead (Genesis 22).
When Jim and Cindy buried their wooden box, it was their way of letting of go of their dream. But God doesn’t ask us to bury our dreams to give them up, He asks us to surrender the promises He’s given us in trust and faith, so that He can give them back to us, just like he did with Abraham and Isaac.
“If we will die to the vision that is in our heart, and allow the Lord to have everything in our lives, He will not only give us the thing that He promised, but it will be better than we could have ever imagined in our own minds.” Craig von Buseck, CBN.com
God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Jim and Cindy Green buried without hope of return, but our hope is in a God whose word “never returns empty and always accomplishes what He desires” (Isaiah 55:11).
The question to answer is … do you have the faith to offer your dream as a sacrifice, believing in the God whose promises never fail?