Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hope and Dreams

Dancing on the water is a dream ... or is it. It seems surreal but is it possible? Dreams ... often are more than seems possible ... more than we can accomplish ourselves. In fact, if we can accomplish them themselves, are we dreaming big enough?!

Karen (over at Karen's Ramblings) has written about dreams this morning and has got me thinking.

Joel 2: 28 - 29 says
"I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days ..."

Hmmm. Dreams ...

Dreams can be difficult things ... sometimes dreams are things that are beyond our abilities to accomplish ... it takes courage to dream ... for some, it is easier not to dream, than to dream and have hope alive, then not see their dream realised and have hope dashed ...

A few years ago I was sitting with my friend Nicole in Vegas. I had been with her in February at a Pastors conference. I had come away from that conference feeling very challenged by God to dream ... in particular, if I go through my journal from that time, several things spoke to me:

"when did you last use your imagination for God exalted things? When did you last just sit and dream HIS dreams?" (Joyce Meyer)

"A dream will lift you out of yourself to be the self you never knew" (Tommy Barnett).

At this time God reminded me of Habakkuk 2 - though the vision lingers - WAIT for it. The waiting Habakkuk did was not passive. He did three things:
1. Stood at his watch
2. Stationed himself on the ramparts
3. Looked to see what God would say.
(for greater depth on this, check out What Do You See?).

So, picture me now 5 months on sitting with my friend Nicole in a restaurant in Vegas. We are talking and sharing and she asks me what I have been doing about the challenge to dream in February (don't you love your friends who just get down to the nitty gritty!).

My response was highly defensive and I said, "well I have just decided that I think there is no point in dreaming big in God because you just set yourself up for disappointment." I continued on to say that I thought you should just think about what you want to do and get on with it. I then proceded to follow that up with a comment along the lines of, "many people dream and are disappointed. Some dream for a child, some for a husband or a loved one to live - it's their deepest, most heartfelt desires - and their agenda is not a bad or selfish one in any way. They dream and are disappointed so in a sense, it is better not to dream and not to be disappointed."

When Nicole picked her mouth up off the floor, (and she is gracious, and merciful and loving) her response was, "I cannot believe i am even hearing these words come out of your mouth Sarah. You, of all people". I got a good butt kicking! And I needed it.

My thoughts above have an element of truth in them. All the best lies do! Think about it. When we dream, we have hope. The bible has a lot to say about hope.
Ro 8:24 Hope that is seen, is no hope at all - who hopes for what they already have?

Psalms - our hope is to be in God and his word (Ps 42:5; 119:74; 130:5; 147:11)

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick

Jer 29:11 - God's plan is to give us HOPE and a future

1 Cor 13:13 These three remain, "faith, HOPE and love"

We can see that hope is part of God's plan for us. We know that we have a dream stealer who loves nothing better to rob us. Perhaps one of the best ways he does this is through hurt and disappointment. They can rob us of our hope and derail our faith. Think about the heroes of Hebrews 11 (and by the way think of vs 1 - faith is being certain of what we HOPE for ...). The Hebrews 11 folk dreamed, and saw what could be ... we have a huge list of heroes and yet the chapter closes out with " these were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised". Wow. They kept hope alive.

A few years ago my friends Brian and Ang were expecting their second child. A few months in Ang went for a scan and they found out that their beautiful baby was going to die. I have posted about this before so I won't go into it here. However some parts of their story are worth mentioning in this context. God had spoken to Brian earlier and prepared him for this. He shared with me that God had told him he was going to take his baby. He decided that it couldn't be God he was hearing, said nothing to Ang and rebuked the thought. It came back to him after the scan and he knew God was in control. So they went through grieving and surrendering their baby to God. Part way through this process while still carrying Jack, Ang said to me they had started to pray and believe for a miracle - with the encouragement of their church. I was immediately concerned - perhaps my biggest area of concern was for the idea of hope in this situation that might then be dashed. I worried about what this would do to their faith.

When I was home and Brian was sharing their hopes and dreams with me, I carefully asked how he reconciled that with the fact that earlier on God had spoken to him of taking Jack. His response was firm but resonated with me. He said, "as far as I am concerned Sarah, God has already taken Jack. If he chooses to give him back to us, we will receive him with open arms". It made me think of Abraham and Isaac. Brian and Ang knew their source was God. They knew he alone had the power to give or take. They had their eyes and their hope in the right place.

I am challenged by Karen's post this morning and I am uncomfortable. This past year, God has dealt with a huge area in my life - opened up some doors on a basement area that has been off limits for years. I don't want to dream in this area - I am afraid of being disappointed. It is an area completely outside of my control. It is easier to have the basement doors closed and bowl through life without deferred hope. In addition, I find it very difficult to see this thing (and I am a person who SEES - that is part of my spiritual gifting). Please pray for me. My prayer for you is Romans 15:13. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."