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Why Do Old Men Need to Dream Dreams?

A friend wrote in response to my last post about what to do when your dreams die. He said, “My natural tendency is to say, ‘vision-casting’ is the responsibility of the older generation. Youth is a time to ‘dream dreams.’ He went on to make the following point:   The Lord reverses it.&nbsp…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
A friend wrote in response to my last post about what to do when your dreams die. He said, “My natural tendency is to say, ‘vision-casting’ is the responsibility of the older generation. Youth is a time to ‘dream dreams.’ He went on to make the following point:
The Lord reverses it. God spoke through Joel to say: “After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
By His Spirit, the Lord will plant visions in the hearts of the young. Vision considers what is and determines what can be. Youth is a season for seeing where God is working, pushing up the sleeves, and following His call.
So what about old men and women – what is our job? 
Apparently, our job is to dream! Dreams keep us hopeful. Unless the old dream dreams, they will become disillusioned. Life is painful. The longer we live, the more we see that we don’t understand.
My friend described what this has meant in his own life recently as multiple friends have suffered: “On June 19 an emerging leader falls while trimming a tree and lays paralyzed today.  On June 22 an older, godly buddy goes in for bypass surgery – there’s a mistake and he bleeds to death in the OR. A relatively straight-forward procedure ends abruptly. On June 26 my grandson goes backpacking for the weekend and ends up on crutches.”
It’s enough to make you question God’s goodness. Unless the old dream dreams, we will be consumed by disappointments and pain of heart and body.  Our view of what is can become clouded by what should have been.  
The reality of pain means that the old must keep dreaming. More is coming. We must keep focusing on what God promises to bring about. 
We are promised that the earth WILL BE FILLED with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the seas. (Hab. 2:14) It’s coming. No question. 
The result
If we dream, what will it look like? How we will experience it? What will be the results? 
Certainly praise, thanksgiving, resilience – all these will be ours.  Eccles. 5:20 summarizes it this way:  “He will not much remember the days of his youth because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.”  
If the old keep dreaming, we will remain hopeful in the face of losses, positive without succumbing to sentimentality or naiveté. 
My friend concluded by saying, “I’ve been dreaming. My dream is that the Lord raises up a new generation of visionary servants, bold in courage and broken in spirit. I dream that He’ll do a new thing – new initiatives.”
“May He call the passing generation like me into a fresh season of hope, certainty, and fervency even stronger than when we were more directly engaged on the fields in the past.”
We who are older need to dream! Too many of us feel overwhelmed and even defeated by all that life has brought in 2020. If you feel yourself getting old, keep dreaming.
God has promised us dreams that will bring hope – to us and to those around us.

Comments (7)

  • This is so good, Seth! A great reminder for us all to keep the beauty of dreams and their hope alive in every season!

  • I love this, Seth. Now I just need to figure out where I am on God’s timeline. I do’t know if I’m ready to align myself with the OLDER men just yet, though I’m definitely not in the YOUNGER men category, either. Either way, I need that hope that God promises in Romans 15:13 to fill me, so that I abound in his hope.

  • Great word Seth!
    CS Lewis talks about how we view life on this earth. If we look at it like training camp or Boot Camp, appropriate preparing us to rule and reign in eternity and making us fit and ready for that, then when hard things in difficulties arise it’s par for the course and is leveraged to our own growth in preparation. But if we look at life like“It’s supposed to be”, then it certainly does cloud our vision and gives us a skewed perspective like life is supposed to be the Hilton five star hotel. So when bad things happen we are thrown to the worldwind and lose heart.

    Like David in first Samuel 30:6, Every man woman and child was taken from Ziklag and it burned at the Amalekites hands. David heard whispers of being stoned because of it. But because David was a man after gods own heart, and knew him intimately, it says of him, “but David found encouragement in the Lord.“ Or is KJV says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord.“
    He said, “bring me the Ephod.”
    I will inquire of the Lord if I should pursue them. God simply answered, “PURSUE THEM” .
    Looks like he fight two days straight and retrieved every single one of them without harm.
    Talk about a turnaround. Let’s stay encouraged in the Lord and continue to cry out to him and inquire of him during these days. Those who hope in the Lord will not be put to shame, will not be disappointed. Thanks for the share Seth :-).

  • This is a true blessing for me today and affirmation in the dreaming I must keep at. It has been a recurrent theme and I will pursue dreaming with wreckless abandon. I continue to
    Listen intently for Gods direction. Shalom.

  • Ha! We definitely need you in the younger man category, Stacy. I’m counting on you to carry the dreams forward after I’m gone!

  • Wonderful example of listening prayer, Matt. One of my favorites in the Bible. When the chips are down, ask God what he thinks and see if he doesn’t renew your hope.

  • Reckless abandon is underrated in America, but is being thrust on us by this virus. We may see it as a gift in the future.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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