Living the dream: Finding hope through difficult days


Just before the apocalypse began and COVID-19 took over the world, I had an interesting interaction with one of my neighbors.

We both pulled into our driveways and exited our vehicles at approximately the same time, so it only seemed polite to ask him how he was doing. I yelled the standard neighborly greeting: “Hey, buddy. How’s life?” At the moment, his response was humorous, if not a tad cliché. He said, “Oh, I’m just living the dream, one nightmare at a time.” Looking back now, his words seemed eerily prophetic.

If we take stock of where we find ourselves in today’s world, we are confronted with the unavoidable reality that our world has, at least for the moment, fundamentally shifted. And it all changed and continues to change with urgency and immediacy.

Six months ago, we could have never imagined what the realities of life would involve today, and I would argue that we have very little idea what life holds in store six months from now. In some ways and to various degrees, it does feel like we’ve been living in a dream. It just happens to be somewhat of a nightmare.

That being stated, I think it is more important to dream dreams of what could be. It is in the midst of uncertain and difficult days that we most need to explore and imagine what could be on the other side. We need to be aware of the reality of our current circumstances and plan for the future in light of the present.

Taking a pragmatic approach in our planning should not prevent us from dreaming big dreams for the future and looking for paths that might enable us to pursue them. We need the hope of what could be to encourage us and to inspire us to do and be more as we make our way through the struggles that confront us.

I’ve been thinking about the life of Joseph quite a bit recently. Of all of the characters in the Bible, I think he most personifies the idea of living the dream one nightmare at a time while also providing hope that better days do in fact lie ahead.

His story begins with a grand dream of the future but very quickly devolves into a series of nightmares. He walks through it all with faithfulness and integrity, and in the end, Joseph ends up living the dream he had at the beginning.

What impresses me most about Joseph is he makes the best of every situation, no matter how bad it gets. He doesn’t bemoan the unfairness of it all. He doesn’t wish his days away. He finds the opportunities within the adversity and makes the most of them.

After outlining his dream at the beginning, he doesn’t mention it again, but that doesn’t mean he gave up on it. What’s most encouraging about his story is the struggles that could have stopped him actually shape him. The nightmares actually prepare him and propel him to where he needs to be to live his dream.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We don’t have even an educated guess as to how long COVID-19 will continue to alter our life experiences. Things will certainly continue to change and develop as the days go by, forcing us to evaluate, adapt and overcome. We will certainly face further frustrations, difficulties and disappointments.

Through it all, however, let us hold onto hope. Dare to dream big dreams of better days. Take comfort in knowing the nightmares we live today won’t keep us from accomplishing our dreams but quite possibly could be the path that prepares us for them.

Starting Aug. 30, we will begin a new sermon series at First Baptist Church entitled “Living the Dream: Finding Hope Through Difficult Days.” The series will take us through the life of Joseph as we consider the various struggles and victories of his life and discern the practical applications they provide for our own lives. Feel free to join us in person or online at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

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