A friend and I were having lunch the other day, catching up on each other’s lives. As per usual, the fun and exciting parts of our lives tumbled out of our mouths first. As the conversation continued, we began talking about the dreams that aren’t coming true—the things that we long for that don’t seem to happen—and not for lack of trying.
Each week I meet with individuals sharing some of their dashed hopes – hopes of marriage, kids, financial stability, careers or jobs they love… the list goes on and on. In those moments, we sit together, disappointed with what hasn’t happened. Life isn’t what we expected. It’s not the direction that we anticipated going. We mourn the loss of dreams that will never come true.
The disciples knew what it was like to have dreams. Jesus was everything the disciples had ever wanted. They had been waiting for the promised Messiah. He was going to make everything in life better. They hoped for a better day. Jesus was representative of their desired dreams and years of longing.
Then Jesus died.
The disciples were devastated. Everything they had hoped for was gone and they were back at square one. Their leader had been brutally crucified and it’s as though the wind was knocked out of them. The disappointment was heavy. The grief felt unbearable. They had lost more than their friend – they had lost their hope. So, what were they supposed to do now?
In the Gospel of Luke, a story unfolds about two of the disciples are walking along the road talking about the recent death of Jesus. There was pain in the disciples’ voices. Jesus was gone. Their longing for more in life is palpable. They had HOPED Jesus was the Redeemer. But they began mourning the loss of the dream.
On this Good Friday, you may be sitting in disappointment for things in your life. Your hopes are dashed, and things aren’t what you expected. The disciples knew this feeling deeply and intimately. What they wanted seemed to be gone and unattainable any more. The disappointment aches in our hearts.
We live in a culture that doesn’t like us to sit in pain. We tell ourselves to brush it off, create new dreams, and keep moving forward. We aren’t allowed to mourn our dashed desires. Instead we are told to move on and not dwell on it anymore. This Good Friday I want you to know it’s okay to be disappointed, to wish things were different. We’ve all been there. If we are being honest with each other—and ourselves—we all have some pain and dashed dreams.
I don’t want you to move past the sadness before you are ready. There are lots of disappointments in life. But I also want you to remember how the story ends for the disciples. They are pained by the loss of their friend Jesus. And then they realize this man they encounter IS Jesus. The hope that they had of him being the Messiah didn’t work out the way they expected – he was resurrected from the dead!
Perhaps in your life your dashed hopes and dreams are preparing you for a twist you never saw coming. It doesn’t mean there isn’t sadness in the loss. Disappointment is real. But much like this Good Friday and knowing that Easter Sunday is coming, we know that the sadness isn’t the end and won’t last forever. So as you sit in your disappointments and broken dreams today, you are not alone. But also remember, an unexpected twist may be coming. And it might be even greater than our dreams.