Ten Years in the Wilderness (Resurrection Year excerpt)

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Here is a second excerpt from my forthcoming book, Resurrection Year (released by Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins on May 28, but available for pre-order now). Resurrection Year is a book about recovering from broken dreams. While the first excerpt reflected the ‘recovery’  side of the story, this one reflects the ‘broken’ side.

My hope in sharing this story is that you may feel encouraged. As the CS Lewis character in Shadowlands says, ‘We read to know we’re not alone.’ If you’ve had a broken dream, you aren’t alone. And a new beginning is possible for you too.


December 24, 2010

Rain falls like a thousand bullets, a barrage of heavy drops pounding the roof, the hood, the asphalt. Windshield wipers on high-speed shovel away the deluge, yet the road ahead is a blur. Traffic has slowed to a snail’s pace—six lanes of snails with little red brake lights banked up end-to-end, slowly creeping forward.

Australian summers are often like this—heavy, humid thunderstorms punctuating the blue skies and sunshine. But this season is different. The storms are heavier, darker, unrelenting. Roads will soon be washed away and whole towns evacuated. Floods will claim capital cities, regional centers, and lives.

Most of us are on our way to annual vacations and family reunions, to curious little faces eyeing little wrapped mysteries under tinsel-lined trees. In that sense Merryn and I are going against the tide, heading out of Brisbane, our families behind us, south to Sydney, to our little flat and some sanctuary.

Don’t think, just drive. Turn the music up. No silence.

We’ll stop halfway, in Coffs Harbour, at the same motel we’d stayed at on the way up just a few days before. Hopefully they’ll have some room. Funny—here we are, a couple in transit on Christmas Eve, hoping there’s room at the Inn.

“It’s Christmas,” I say to Merryn. “Let’s try and get a Christmas pudding or something.”

“You know there’ll only be a microwave in the motel room,” she says, her voice weary, her eyes red.

“I know.” Dinner tonight will be basic.

The lights are still on at a large shopping complex on our left. We pull in and drive through the mostly vacant parking lot, getting a spot close to the entrance. Christmas muzak echoes off the glass and tiles inside. Roller doors are down and shops are shut, but the supermarket is open late. I slip my right hand into Merryn’s and pick up a grocery basket with my left. “Let’s find something nice,” I say, trying to lift spirits.

“The Christmas puddings sold out days ago,” the shelf-packer tells me. “But there might be some mince pies left in aisle 3.” That aisle is almost barren, its wire racks holding little more than price tags and the odd busted carton of something-or-other. There are a few packets of mince pies, though. I put one in the basket.

“Let’s just get some takeaway,” Merryn says.

It’s dark but the rain has eased as we walk back to the car, with our packet of mince pies and some bread rolls for tomorrow’s drive. We get in, shut the doors, and Merryn bursts into tears.

“I feel so depressed,” she whimpers.

A Chinese restaurant is open. The motel has a vacant room. We dump our bags on the floor and the food on the table. Merryn collapses on the bed and my heart breaks into a thousand pieces.

I pull out my journal and write:

God, this is cruel—leaving us in this wilderness. We’ve walked round in circles for years, tired, thirsty and confused. One minute we’ve glimpsed the Promised Land and the next minute you’ve barred us from entering it.


Read more about Resurrection Year.

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Question: What is your broken dream? Leave a comment now.


  • March 20, 2013

    I talked to a doctor once about how I had spent around 15 years working towards a specific dream that was then coming crashing down due to serious illness. I tried to get her to personalise it by arguing with her that if someone had done their medical degree and specialised and then told they wouldn’t be able to practice that it would be devastating. How would she feel if it happened to her??? She just looked at me and said 3 words. “Dreams can change.”

    Thank you for what you’re about to share with the world about how God can take broken dreams and rebuild something beautiful. Dreams can, and sometimes do, have to change.

    • March 21, 2013

      So true. Thanks for sharing the story, Elise. An important lesson.


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