Dream a little dream
Dream a little dream
(and then fight for it)
As a new Christian at 18, I was baptised into a church where I was told God loves me – amazing! He wants good things for me – hurray! He has dreams to give me, things he wants me to do – wow! He always delivers on his promises, he’s always faithful, he’s always good – who could ask for more?! But somehow I misinterpreted these (true) statements into the belief that following after the dreams God gave me would be easy. It’s not that I expected life to be entirely free from pain, but I thought if I followed God’s voice things would work out quickly and easily. Well, it’s certainly not proved to be the case for me or for those around me who I see following their God-given dreams. If I’m honest, it sometimes feels like our lives are often harder than those who don’t follow Jesus.
Over the years there have been times when I’ve questioned why that is and wondered whether we’re doing something wrong. But the more I’ve looked at the stories in the Bible, the more confused I am as to why I ever thought it would be smooth sailing. Perhaps I focused on the beginnings and ends of the Bible stories and forgot about the reality of the pain in the middle. After all, we have the advantage of reading the full story of the Bible and seeing how God worked his ways and brought redemption and fruit out of even the most horrific of situations. Joseph had a dream and it was ultimately realised so we use the excruciatingly painful events that happened in between (being sold by your brothers, working as a slave and being sent to prison to name but a few!) and make them into a cheery musical. We talk about King David and gloss over all the time he spent after he’d been anointed King, running for his life. We think how Mary was ‘favoured’ by God but find it hard to imagine just how frightening it was for her to try and explain she was pregnant with God’s own son (and that was just the beginning).
When I look at stories like these more closely (and there are plenty of them), I realise that hardship isn’t a sign that we’ve misheard God and taken the wrong turn. Neither is the fact that it is taking a long time to see our dreams come to fruition. It quite often seems to be that we’re on the right track but we need to persevere, which is never as glamorous as it sounds, is it? I’ve heard so many talks with a rallying call to persevere and I get pumped and excited that I’m heading in the right direction and then the next day I remember what perseverance actually looks like: it’s a slog. A long, hard slog. It’s turning up, being open, and putting one foot in front of the other, day after day after day. Long after it feels comfortable. Long after the glow of the original vision has worn off. It’s often dull, confusing and many times painful, sometimes to the point where we don’t know if we can take any more.
Have you found that too? I know God has given you dreams. Not because I have an incredible prophetic gift but because that’s who he is – he wants us to see this world changed and we can all play our part in seeing his kingdom come. So if you’re following those dreams and you’re finding it a slog, please don’t give up – the kingdom needs you! God has given us each different dreams which sometimes makes us think ours isn’t as valid as other people’s. That’s not true, it’s just that your dream is unique to you because you have a unique set of passions, gifts and experiences to use. Only you can see how the story ends if you hang in there and keep walking (or limping which is how it sometimes feels to me) with him. Keep trusting God. It sounds serene but it’s not; it’s a battle that is hard won with wrestling through tough questions until your heart feels like it’s going to break and your mind is going to explode. But do the wrestling. Life is confusing but you can find peace. It doesn’t just fall from the sky; it’s fought for through the habit of fixing our eyes on Jesus and turning our eyes from the problems mounting up around us. And that’s the way we find God’s fullness of life in our waiting and pursuing – by keeping our eyes fixed on him (that was Moses’s secret according to Hebrews 11:27). God can sustain you and he can turn your story of pain and perseverance into one that brings him glory. That’s who he is and that’s what he does. So, in the words of James:
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. …Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5 7-9, 10-11
Liza is part of the Soul Survivor comms team and a freelance writer. She has a written a couple of books you can buy in our shop including Heart to Heart with Ali Martin and Worship Evangelism Justice with Mike P.