Thursday, September 12, 2013
A Dream So Big
Recently, I was asked to write a book review for my church's women's newsletter. This has been one of my favorite books, so I thought I would share here as well.
“I will cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.” (Ps. 57:2)
Every woman has dreams. Even in strong, theological circles, in which we cultivate biblically informed emotions, women still have dreams. But not all dreams become reality. Friends desert us. Sickness overtakes the home. A longed-for husband never arrives. The womb remains hollow. Children forsake our teaching. Somewhere along the way, the wavering heart convinces us there must be something more. This can’t possibly be it.
So, we tuck our dreams away, wondering if we must resign ourselves to a life of unfulfilled hopes.
In the book, A Dream So Big, we find the story of a dream. A husband and wife celebrating twelve years of marriage, a growing family, enjoying a safe and comfortable home, solid career options, surrounded by dear friends. Dreams seemingly fulfilled. Capped off by the unexpected excitement of a third child being conceived!
The pregnancy quickly revealed a major concern. Baby Pfeifer was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, and doctors called for an abortion, warning that the baby growing in Nancy’s womb would be, “incompatible with life”. Instead of onesies and diapers, the shower consisted of frozen meals in preparation for a painful homecoming upon the bittersweet birth. Eight days together enjoying this precious new baby was all the Pfeifer family had before he was taken to his eternal home with Jesus. Dreams crushed.
If you are looking for a theological treatise on God’s sovereignty in the midst of suffering, you won’t find it here. This is a quirky book, full of interesting vignettes from life in Africa. Yet, it is a sobering reflection on how God took the big dreams of one family, stripped them bare, and replaced them with something better. After baby Stephen’s death, the Pfeifer’s left behind all familiarities and served as dorm parents at a mission community in Kenya for a year. As they considered the poverty, injustice and spiritual darkness of their foreign home, God revealed a new dream. A dream to care for the orphans of Kenya, extending their initial commitment to a permanent relocation to Kenya, working in the mission community full-time and establishing a lunch program serving several thousand starving children each week. A dream calling Steve and Nancy to take in abandoned twins, Ben and Katie, giving them a home and a heritage of faith.
Though you may not find a theological treatise on God’s sovereignty in the midst of suffering, you will find a real-life story of how God’s ordaining providences transform the dreams of His people into something far greater. Inscribed on baby Stephen’s gravestone are the words, “ Having fulfilled the purpose the Father had for him, he returned to the Father”. The Pfeifer’s look back on how their earthly dreams may have been shattered, but were replaced with eternal dreams – dreams to serve the lost, and share the love of Christ in a tangible way. Of these dreams, Steve aptly says, “Our story is really all about Jesus. He is our beginning, our middle, and our end. And He can use anything and anyone for His purpose.”
For a lengthier review of this book, see Tim Challies comments @ http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/a-dream-so-big