Dreams & Ashes

Several years ago when my daughter came home from college, her local voice teacher wanted her to sing with other students at a recital.  A voice lesson was squeezed in at the last minute, and because most of her music was still packed up, she grabbed the score of Les Misérables as we ran out the door.

I was moved to tears as she sang Fantine’s song, I Dreamed A Dream. Fantine is alone, abandoned and without hope, holding only dreams that have become memories of despair. The pathos of the music and words reach down into your heart and pull out all of the memories you have of dreams that have died and hopes that are gone. The music finds its resonance in the grief and longing of your own heart.

As I sat there I thought of the longings we each have within us—the desires for good things, for happy things—the yearning we have for life to work out for us. I thought of the way dreams are killed—by the folly of others or of ourselves—or sometimes just by the folly of life in those Ecclesiastes moments when all seems vanity.

I knew again that the deepest longing of the human heart, the deepest dream that any of us may hope to have, can still be answered, can still be fulfilled, no matter if, even as Fantine sang, we have hopes that have been torn apart or dreams that have turned to shame.

Jesus Himself answers our deepest cry. Knowing Him satisfies the hunger and thirst of our soul for meaning and hope, the desire to know someone is there and cares, and that someone can pick up the pieces of who we are, forgive us and restore us. All of these cries are answered in Him.

During the Feast of Booths in Herod’s temple, each day the priest would pour out a pitcher of water on the altar. On the last day of the festival, the priest circled the altar seven times before finally pouring out the water onto the altar.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
John 7:37-38

Our dreams and longings can seem like an unquenchable thirst within us. But you can find the water of hope, the water of life, in one person—Jesus Christ. Whatever your heart, whatever your past, there is no hell you have lived through that He cannot redeem. As Betsie ten Boom told her sister Corrie while they were in Ravensbruck, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

Fantine sings of dreaming that God would be forgiving. That’s not a dream that dies. That’s a reality. Sin that has torn you asunder and killed you and your dreams, can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.”
Isaiah 55:1-2

Come, let Him pour out the water of life on the ashes of your dreams.

R. Kent Hughes, John:  That You May Believe, pp.212-215.
Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, The Hiding Place, p.197.
Fountain of Water: FreeFoto.com

Original content: Copyright ©2010 Iwana Carpenter

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