The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

February 19, 2024
4 min read
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I've never seen the house that stands down the long lane, but a small sign stuck by the side of its mailbox gives me pause. That sign simply reads, “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” It’s not a sign created by Green Day’s marketing team in homage to their song of the same name. No, this one is unique, and it looks homemade. Since I pass this house frequently, I noticed the owner took the sign down during the holiday season. But now, in the season of winter chill, it stands securely in the mud and grime.

Who created this sign? What level of sadness and despair inspired it? Green Day’s take on walking that boulevard says volumes. Their song repeats again and again that on that street, the boulevard of broken dreams, the traveler walks alone.

Abandonment is one of our Enemy’s most powerful lies. The seed of this lie often grows deep roots, watered by the wave of our emotions. Moses felt abandoned at times (Psalm 90:13), David struggled through it (Psalm 35:17), and even bold Isaiah flinched at it (Isaiah 6:11).  Paul points out how human experience leads to these feelings in 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9; “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed….”

When we feel afflicted, unloved, or in any way persecuted, the abandonment lie often creeps in,

even if we don't put a sign in our yard. Sometimes, we look back and are haunted by the what-ifs and if-onlys of life. Tough circumstances leave us feeling alone. Relationships ebb and flow. As we wrestle with unanswered prayers, we feel empty and confused. It’s hard to accept the truth that when we walk on the boulevard of broken dreams, we actually have lots of company. We share the street with many others who feel the same.

Counseling sessions are often scattered with broken dreams and heavy burdens that are hard to release. It’s important to listen and mourn with those who mourn. It’s also important to be still and let the truth of God sink in (Psalm 46). There’s a place for lament, as there is a time and season for all things. On the boulevard of broken dreams, we need someone to walk with us. Traveling together, we remind each other of the power and presence of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, we need space for questions to be asked, ideas to be pondered, and prayers to be refined. When it comes to the boulevard of broken dreams, I think about Jesus in John 5:1-9. Jesus, with the perfect blend of truth and love, approaches a crippled man laying beside the pool of Bethesda. That man has been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus asks him a simple, profound question, “Do you want to be well?” 

There’s plenty of emotional weight in the question and in the man’s telling reply. The crippled man says that he’s alone and there’s no one to help him reach the pool’s healing water. Jesus’ question, however, probes deeper. He goes straight to motivation. Jesus is asking else. Is there more for you past this affliction? Can you visualize it? Is it really your intent to get well, or is something else going on here?

Jesus meets the man there, by his pool of broken dreams, and checks his desire to get well. How will the man’s motive shine through? Jesus calls him to “Get up, take up your bed, and walk” (John 5: 8). The confirmation of his motive and faith is action. Jesus promises to be our companion on the boulevard of broken dreams, but he will not let us stay there. Brokenness wasn’t God’s original plan for creation, but it’s never wasted. Christ calls us to see it as the soil in which faith grows.

The crippled man did want to get well, and he was healed. That miraculous healing foreshadows the transformational work Christ does in our lives. His blood covers our sin and creates in us his new plan and program. Believers walking on this side of the cross know the power of Christ’s resurrection is ours, and it impacts every situation. The Holy Spirit reminds us we are never alone. There is always hope. 

When I'm traveling on the boulevard of broken dreams, the direction I’m headed makes all the difference.

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Crystal is a Christ-follower, wife, mother, counselor, and friend. She is passionate about connecting others with the truth of God's miraculous power and sustaining presence.

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