When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting
Psalm 126:1-2a, NASB
Have you ever felt like you have lost your ability to dream? Maybe you no longer have God’s direction and purpose for your life? I often think of Joseph who had a God-given purpose and direction, and continued to dream despite the jealously and taunting of his brothers.
Sometimes our God-given dreams bring us to places, like Joseph, in the pit of despair, in bondage as a slave, and sorting through slanderous accusations. Sometimes we wonder, if we like Ebenezer Scrooge, had some bad cheese when we “thought” we heard from God. Have you been there? Maybe you are in a place like this today. The direction you thought your life was going, seemingly took a wrong turn.
What does captivity, wilderness journeys, accusations, and trials all have in common with God-dreams? According to James, various kinds of trials and afflictions are headed your way when you begin to yield to God’s direction for your life. Rather than become discouraged and weary, we have an opportunity to rejoice and know that the same God who called us to the journey, will lead us through every trial.
The greatest place of joy, I believe, is walking through the storms with Christ. We no longer can rely on our own strength, and so the joy of the Lord must become our strength. Through the trial we understand our inability to change our circumstance, and our only resolve is to be joyful in the Lord.
Determine you will not stop dreaming—no matter the circumstance. Like John in Revelation, get caught up in the Spirit and overflow with the joyful revelation of Christ. Circumstances like John’s—boiled in oil and exiled on an island—can certainly prevent us from dreaming; but circumstances like John’s can be the catalyst for things never seen or experienced before.
I love what Charles Spurgeon writes about this Psalm:
So full were they of joy that they could not contain themselves. They must express their joy and yet they could not find expression for it. Irrepressible mirth could do no other than laugh, for speech was far too dull a thing for it. The mercy was so unexpected, so amazing, so singular that they could not do less than laugh; and they laughed much, so that their mouths were full of it, and that because their hearts were full too. When at last the tongue could move articulately, it could not be content simply to talk, but it must needs sing; and sing heartily too, for it was full of singing. Doubtless the former pain added to the zest of the pleasure; the captivity threw a brighter color into the emancipation. The people remembered this joy flood for years after, and here is the record of it turned into a song. Note the when and the then. God’s when is our then. At the moment when he turns our captivity, the heart turns from its sorrow; when he fills us with grace we are filled with gratitude. We were made to be as them that dream, but we both laughed and sang in our sleep.