Sermon Illustrations

“Living the Impossible Dream!” Job 40: 1-5: Key verse(s): 2 “‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!’”

Sooner or later everyone reads or hears about Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote. Cervantes is thrown in prison in Seville. Finding himself in the middle of a band of cutthroats, he tries to divert them by telling them his story of Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha. In the story, Quixote pictures himself as a chivalrous knight. He goes forth to right all the wrongs of the world and take it by storm; but the Don is a man who lives in a world of impossible dreams. His armor is shabby and his horse is sagging. He rides for his fair lady whom he calls Dulcinea — “Sweetness.” But Dulcinea is far from a fair lady. She is a prostitute in a country tavern. She assures him that she is “the most casual bride of the murderous scum of the earth.” Her real name is Aldonza. She resents Quixote’s intrusion in her life and screams at him saying she is “no kind of lady.” But the Don persists, “And still thou art my lady.” He says that he sees heaven when he sees her, to which she replies that all she can see is a dream covered with rusty tin. Soon Don Quixote’s family tries to make him face reality. They oblige him to see the world as it is by shocking him into reality. As they begin to succeed, his health and his spirit begin to break, and he is at the point of giving up his impossible dream. But just then Aldonza comes into his room. She looks at him with grateful eyes and says, “You looked at me and called me by another name —Dulcinea.” Aldonza had become a lady; her life renewed by someone who dared to believe in her and call her by a new name. (Rodney Buchanan,

When life becomes difficult to understand, unpredictable, seemingly quixotic and without reason or pattern, perhaps it is just God calling us by another name, a name we don’t readily recognize because we were busy being someone or something else. Job thought he knew who he was. He really believed that he had mastered his life, exceeding even his expectations for himself. He was on top of his game and he had no rivals. Then God decided to allow Satan to test his metal, to see how he would hold up when all that made sense became nonsense. Job’s understanding faltered. Where once there had been confidence and assurance, now only doubt and confusion reigned. He longed for things to return to the way they once were where family and friends honored him and life had been his footpath. Now, stripped of all things that had brought meaning to him, he found himself bereft of...

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