Tag Archives: dreams

Mission: “Possible”

Write the Vision          Have you ever felt like you’ve been called to great things, impossible things?  That would be because you have.  The problem is we say we believe that but – do we really?  The fact is that we’ve lost sight of the bottom line:  “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).  Maybe it’s time for a quick reminder.                 

          “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son.’  Now Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent nearby.  And since Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long past the age of having children, she laughed silently to herself.  ‘How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby?’ she thought.  ‘And when my master, my husband, is also so old?’  The Lord then said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh?  Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?”  Is anything too hard for the Lord?'”  (Gen. 18:10-13).

          A “baby” equals a dream, a promise, a heart’s desire.  It also represents, as with Sarah, the sign of a fulfilled covenant and the promise of a covenant to come.  The same message came to Jeremiah from the Lord.

          The Lord had instructed Jeremiah to buy a field from his cousin and to store away the deed. Odd thing to do but God meant it as a sign that, although Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Israelites exiled to Babylon, the time would come that He would again restore His people to their land.  But as Jeremiah sees the city and nation about to be destroyed, he is in despair and wonders how anyone could ever own land in Israel/Judah again, so Jeremiah questions God as to why He had him buy the land in the first place.  But the deed was a prophetic sign of a future covenant which the Lord would make with His people. 

         God had also had Abraham perform a prophetic action when He’d commanded him, “’Take a walk in every direction and explore the new possessions I am giving you'” (Gen. 13:17).  God tells Abraham to “explore” (“Walk the length and breath of the land . . .”) – to get a vision of it.  He commanded Abraham to keep the vision before his eyes in order to hold onto the dream.  And we should do the same . . . 

          As for Jeremiah, he didn’t understand the sign and essentially asks God:  “How can You do that – fulfill your promise – when Jerusalem is about to be destroyed??”  God’s answer: “‘I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world.  Is anything too hard for Me?'”  (Jer. 32:26-27).

          In the book of Luke, the angel Gabriel visits Mary to inform her that she will become pregnant with the Messiah through the Spirit of God and have a baby.  Mary responds by asking how she can get pregnant when she’s still a virgin.  (Evidently she gets that this is supposed to happen immediately and not after she marries Joseph, to whom she is engaged.  I always thought this to be very astute of her because I probably would have missed the point entirely and responded, “Why wouldn’t I have a son ? I’m about to get married.  I hope I have lots of them!”)  The angel tells her how it will happen (as soon as she gives the word), and then gives her a sign to believe in: “‘What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!  People used to say she was barren, but she’s already in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God'” (Luke 1:36).

          In Matthew 19, there is the account of the rich young ruler who leaves sadly after deciding he cannot give up his possessions and follow Jesus (who was testing his commitment by asking him to do that).  Jesus watches him go and comments to His disciples that it’s about as easy for a rich person to get saved as it is for a huge camel to go through the tiny city gate known as the “Eye of the Needle.”  Knowing how impossible that would be, Jesus’ disciples, astonished, respond, “‘Then who in the world can be saved?'” (vs. 25).  Jesus’ answer?  “‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (vs. 26).  The disciples were panicked at the thought that salvation would be as difficult to attain as a camel getting through that gate (which evidently had never been done before).   Continue reading Mission: “Possible”

When the Dream Is Not Behaving

Broken Success Glass           Did you ever have a dream come true – but not the way you thought? It didn’t happen the way you thought it would happen, it didn’t look the way you thought it would look, and it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would turn out. But still, your dream came true . . .

            Or did it?

            When I began teaching 17 years ago, it was after I’d been out of school for many years and teaching didn’t look at all like I thought it would look. Not that God hadn’t called me to it; He most clearly had in ways that were undeniable. But teaching looked and felt so different than what I had expected that many times I would’ve quit – had God not made His call so clear.

            But still, when I began teaching high school English and found that 10th and 11th grade students couldn’t tell a noun from a verb from an adjective – nor did they care to – I was upset. But, I thought, just hold on till next year. It’ll be better then. But it wasn’t. By the third year of “I don’t know, don’t care, and don’t care to know,” I had a moment of truth: it was always going to be this way.

           Livin’ the dream.

           Of course (some would argue), if a teacher is a good one, she’ll make kids want to learn. However, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him write an essay. (Or something like that.)  Nevertheless, they might be right. Back in the day when I was in school, teachers made us want to work. I think their paddles might have had something to do with that.

            Today I guess I’m reflecting on all of this because four things happened last week to make the point. Not, unfortunately, that last week was all that unusual.

            Monday I noticed a student crying. She wouldn’t say why but another student told me that there’d been a suicide in her (extended) family. What do you say to that? I told her how sorry I was and tried to coax her to talk to me, to somebody, but she wouldn’t. I didn’t ask her to do any work but I had to wonder why she’d come to school. Maybe it was just better than being at home . . .

          Tuesday I went to a house to tutor a student who, by the way, doesn’t do any work. And he’ll tell you that. He told me that – twelve times. And he’s been not working for several months while being home-tutored, but next year he’ll be in the next grade anyway. Why? Because in this country, we have this wonderful thing called “social promotion” (which I could write a whole post on); this means that students are promoted through school based on age and facial hair – no lie – and not on mastery of skills. Of course, mastery is such a ridiculously archaic idea. Ever wonder why the United States ranks behind a hundred other countries in education? That’s why.

           Wednesday I had a kid arguing and yelling that he would most certainly not put his cell phone on my desk, and when I suggested he then go to the office and explain it to them, he declined that offer, too – only louder – in case I didn’t hear him the first time. Of course, I insisted (how mean of me) but still, he didn’t see my point of view. And from there it went. Eventually, he left but informed me on the way out the door that he would not, despite my recommendation, leave his phone in his locker next time.

           Sigh.

           Thursday, a girl in study hall had a major meltdown because another teacher had given her a lower grade on a project than she thought she deserved. There was much yelling and the throwing of books and threats of bodily harm to the teacher. Attempts on my part to do negotiations failed miserably. Oh, well. She’ll probably end up with the completely effective deterrent of home-bound tutoring where she’ll be forced to sleep in and play video games all day except for the two hours she’d be rudely interrupted to be tutored one-on-one. So sad.

           Why am I venting like this? To make a point: there will be days when “the dream” is just not behaving itself. There will be disappointments, perhaps tears, maybe even a failure here and there. You might even hear yourself saying some version of, “Why did I ever want to do this???”  But then, right when you’re ready to get the eraser and re-write the dream, you feel a little nudge and hear a quiet whisper, “You know why . . .”

            And you do.

 

 

Fear Not. Dream.

If Your Dreams Don't Scare You . . .    

      Recently, I had a conversation with some friends and we discussed our dreams: What were the things that we hoped and dreamed we’d accomplish some day?  What did we really believe we were called to do? What were our secret hearts’ desires?

     As we chatted, it became clear that every one of us- and there were about a dozen – had a dream.  And they varied.  Some were as big as to start a company which would assist churches in starting their own businesses in order to become financially independent to another who wanted to produce a worship and CD to another whose heart’s desire was to become a wife and mother. Others included a woman who dreamed of building a house that could be used as a retreat center for others and a man who wanted to return to school and become a minister. My dream? To write thriller-type novels with spiritual warfare and political themes.

     Despite our dreams, however, there was one common thread – well, two, actually: doubt and fear.

     Now we all know that we’re not supposed to have any of that.  And sometimes we talk a good game.  But the fact of the matter is that doubt and fear come in all shapes and sizes:  “What if I can’t get the education I need to become __________ ?” (Fill in the blank.)  “What if people laugh when I try to  ___________?”  “What if I don’t have the money I need to accomplish ___________?”  “What if I’m not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, influential enough, talented enough????”  What if?  WHAT IF??  WHAAAAAT IFFFFFF????

     “What if I try – and fail . . . ?” Continue reading Fear Not. Dream.