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 . . . ?”
Have you ever been so desperate to hear from God or to have Him move on your behalf that, having tried everything else, you finally just pitch a fit.
Have you ever been angry at God?
Maybe you feel you’ve been tried beyond your limits: a person in your life who – for days, months, years – has tested your patience and love beyond bearing? A job which – while you’re grateful to have one – you dread going to each and every day? Or you need a job, any job? Perhaps you’ve been waiting a long time for the desire of your heart – a husband or wife? A dream you believe you’ve been called to? A child?
Maybe you’ve been praying for the salvation of a loved one for half a lifetime – and they seem to be getting further away from the Lord, not closer. Perhaps you’re desperate to be healed or to see a loved one healed – and pain is all you know in the meantime. Maybe you’re enduring a heartbreaking marriage – and despite all of your pleading and prayers, the dream just isn’t happening.
Maybe you have financial problems: bills you can’t pay or college or retirement you can’t afford? Or just when you begin to get on your feet, something else breaks down, wears out, needs repairs or someone gets sick? What if your heart’s been broken just one too many times and you just can’t bear one more minute of pain?
What if, in the midst of any or all of those trials, heartaches, persecutions, and crisises, you’ve said every prayer you can think of or you’ve put on the game face and willed yourself to worship one more time or you’ve fasted till you’re skin and bones or you’ve declared every promise in the Bible? What if you’ve tithed every penny you’ve ever earned and forgiven till you’re blue in the face and haven’t missed church in seven years? What if you’ve read the Bible through three times in a year, pray two hours a day (on your knees), and clean toilets every week at church.
What if all of that – and you still just can’t seem to get God’s attention.
Have you ever been there? So worn out from waiting, crying, pleading, dealing, declaring, and waiting some more that you finally decide God needs a little drama?
Sometimes, in the midst of desperate circumstances over a long period of time, when everything we know to do has failed to move God’s hand – we take circumstances into our own hands.