Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O Lord, endures for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. ~ Ps. 138:7-8
I had a note from one of my readers after last week's article (How to Create the Life You Want). She said, "Great message this week. I am one that doesn't really dream. God is so good to me."
Well, God is good to me, too. How do I know? Because I'm living in the midst of my dreams. Life is [mostly] wonderful. And I'm grateful for [almost] every moment; but there are still things I'd like to accomplish, places I'd like to go and things I'd like to do.
I have no doubt He wants to be good to you, too. But, I'm here to tell her - and you - that everybody has dreams. Even God. His 'dream' is to help you grow into the best 'you' possible. Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2). There they are: health, wealth and peace - all in the same verse. The word 'wish' in the KJV is translated 'pray' in other versions of the Bible, so now you know God's prayer for you!
Remember the movie, "The Bucket List"? Two old men had things they wanted to see and do before they died. That list encompassed their dreams. Dreams don't have to be grandiose, but we all need something to look forward to. Let me share a story with you.
My father-in-law (who passed on this past spring) battled COPD a decade or more. For the last several years, we'd get a call... and off we'd go, headed for GA. Sometimes we'd stay for a couple of weeks, sometimes for a couple of months, slowly nursing him back to health and strength. During one particularly bad stretch, my husband and I told him if he could get well and stay well through the winter (his hardest time), we would take him to Arizona to visit his only sister and her family.
Well, he did. He thought about and talked about that trip for more than six months. Finally in February 2011, we packed him and all his pills and medical supplies, oxygen tanks and nebulizer in the car and drove cross-country from Atlanta to Arizona. We were gone for three weeks, and he had a great visit.
The anticipation of that trip helped keep him in reasonably good health for the longest stretch he'd had in some time. When he got back to GA... well, there was nothing really to look forward to. And his health deteriorated. By May we were back in GA for another two-month stretch.
Moral of the story: everyone needs something to look forward to - some dream or desire that keeps us focused on what needs done to accomplish that dream. It's the reason for vacations, weekends, get-togethers and projects. Have you noticed how many celebrations, feast days and holidays God ordained throughout the Old and New Testaments? Some of them lasted a month! (So why do we only get 2 or 3 weeks of vacation?)
Have you noticed that The Bible makes no provision for retirement. God wants us to be productive right up till the day we head off to heaven! (That may not mean a full-time job, but there is always something you can be doing, learning, sharing, giving.)
Statistically, a lot of retirees die within a couple years of their retirement. Why? Suddenly, their lives have no purpose, no reason to get out of bed and get moving. Without a vision, a dream or a project, it's possible to fall into depression and ennui. Proverbs 29:18 says where there is no vision, the people perish. God always has something in mind for you. If you're unsure what that is, spend some time in prayer and meditation, expecting an idea to take hold in your thoughts, a project to inspire your enthusiasm.
You know how much effort people put into planning and getting ready for vacation. Sometimes, they save for a year or more for that trip-of-a-lifetime. They read travel brochures, check out hotels and plan itineraries. Anticipation keeps excitement alive through the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of life. No matter what happens, we say to ourselves, "I'm going to _____!"
So... does my reader dream? I'm guessing she does. She just doesn't think of it in those terms. But I'm betting that she (and you) have places to go, things to do and people to see. I'm guessing that there are still things she (and you) want to change about your life.
Let me share another example:
We've lived in the same house for over 30 years. It has been a fine place and we've enjoyed the privilege of being here. Slowly, we've worked on it, one room at a time, until it's just about perfect. Well, except for a few more ideas I've got!
Why is it that one project leads to another? Because God gives you dreams and projects in progression. I didn't even think about that thing until the one before it was done. Then - all of a sudden! - (God does have a sense of humor) - here's another 'something' that I'd like to do!
Hubby and I look at each other when a project gets completed and ask, "Why didn't we do that, years ago?" Well, the truth is, it never even crossed our minds. We apparently weren't ready for that particular 'dream' until now.
By Ruth Seebeck