Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your dream, your purpose, that you have lost the thing that “makes you tick,” or, have you ever lost your ability to dream? There are few experiences as painful as losing your dreams and visions or your ability to dream. When we lose our dream, it can feel as if we’ve lost our very life’s breath. I’ve heard it said that if we’ve not found anything worth laying our lives down for, what are we living for?
Early on in life, I knew that Africa would play a big role in my history. When asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I never had the normal answer to offer: doctor, lawyer, teacher, businesswoman…no, my answer was “I want to be a missionary in Africa.” My answer would be met with a smile, pat on the back, and the words, “Aren’t you just so sweet?” No, the journey to Africa wouldn’t be an easy one, but it was that dream that gave purpose to everything else in my young life.
My vision for missions made me a kind of oddball from day 1 (a real misfit). At first, most thought it was a childish dream, but as the dream stuck, it was what served as my life’s map. It is what made me feel out of place with my peers and it is what made me feel comfortable in my own skin even though it seemed no one else knew what to do with me. The same purpose brought my husband and I together and ultimately had our feet land on the continent for the first time in 1985. The rest, as “they” say, is history; we’ve been inextricably linked to this continent.
Early on in our missionary career, when we were preparing to plant our first church, we set our eyes on going to Burundi. We had heard many horror stories of people working in that small nation – stories of loss and hardship. In our youthful zeal we packed our two young children and ourselves in a plane and flew to this strange land full of hopes and dreams.
Initially, the task of planting a church seemed straightforward: register the church with the government, secure work visas, and off we go. We quickly learned that is not the way things get done – the process was a long and arduous one fraught with sickness, resistance at every corner, and the usual financial strain missionaries face. The dream was nearly lost to us before it began but suddenly, miracle after miracle, we experienced healings, approvals, and somehow the finances were there and our first church plant began.
Time after time over the years, the dream was tested. From civil war to refusals for the church to be registered, there were times we were sure the dream had ended and dreaded what we would wake up to, yet here we are – we’re living the dream.
Did you ever thing you would be part of something like someone else’s dream? Most of us don’t think that anyone would be so interested in us that they would be willing to put everything on the line just for us. The good news is this: there is Someone Who gave His dream up, so that we could live and dream on.
Philippians 2:5-8 NKJ “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Our dreams now pattern after those of Jesus Whose dreams appeared to die when He died – but when He rose, His dreams rose with Him:
Ephesians 2:4-6 NKJ “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
Before we even knew that we were part of a dream, God made a way for those dreams to come true in Christ. The things that try to extinguish God’s dreams in us are little more than distractions because when the Dream came alive on the first Resurrection morning – He gave life to the rest of the dreams He would live through us in times to come.
Ephesians 2:7 NKJ “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
What gives you a passion for living? If you’ve lost that passion, it’s time to dream again. God has a dream for you to make life so very much worth living.
It’s time to dream on, dear one, dream on.