Detective, actress, radio station DJ, writer, inventor, teacher… As a little girl I dreamed of becoming one or a combination of these. Some were mere dreams, while others were seeds for things I actually would become.
During the last two weeks I was meeting with a group of our sponsored students. They are the top class at our island’s secondary (high) school and they are preparing for their final exams, and then life beyond the island. I asked them about their desires for the future. Without fail, all said they wanted to continue their studies at the next secondary level, called A-level, like junior college. Because of poor grades and/or lack of money, this just may not be possible.
It may mean taking a less-popular path and instead going to a vocational school or institution. All have big aspirations - to be a doctor, an engineer, or a teacher. Not going on to A-level pushes those dreams further into the future or out of their path completely.
I tried to explain that if they fail to continue to A-level , it does not mean it will never be in their future, just perhaps not now. I tried to explain that God may give us dreams and desires, but we must be willing to trust and wait on Him for their fulfillment.
I recently read an excellent article, entitled “The Things I Won’t Be,” written by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, and posted at: http://www.boundlessline.org/articlesbysuzanne_hadley.html. In the article she tells of the dreams she once held: to marry young, to be the first of her siblings to marry, to be a young mother, a youthful grandmother, etc. When those dreams appeared delayed, or even out of the realm of possibility, she had a choice: 1. Be bitter, or 2. Wait for the better – the dreams God had for her.
She told the story of Ruth (personally one of my favorite Bible stories ). Ruth left her dreams of remarriage, children, and happiness in her home country, to follow and support her bitter mother-in-law Naomi as she returned to her homeland of Israel. This not only meant Ruth was abandoning her dreams, but this choice also meant she would be living in a country where she was seen as an outcast and a foreigner, further limiting her prospects.
I don’t think the Bible really tells us what motivated Ruth to so loyally follow Naomi. I wonder - what kind of inner struggle did she endure as she turned her back on her homeland, to loyally follow her heart-broken mother-in-law?
I also have been thinking of Abraham, David, Joseph and others in the Bible. All had dreams. Some were in the form of promises right from God’s mouth. Most, if not all, were not fulfilled according to man’s timing or in line with man’s ideas. But, the fulfillment was far better than the dreamer could have imagined – it was the best. It was the best way and in the best timing.
You will notice that my little girl aspirations did not include the title “missionary.” I never dreamed of becoming a missionary, nor was Africa among my top five destinations. Even as recently as five years ago, I had no such aspirations. If you would have looked into your crystal ball and told me I would be here in Uganda today, I would have said you were crazy. While I was having imaginations in the realm of the possible, God was on the higher plane.
Sometimes what God has in mind for us could be called “crazy.” But, only He is big enough to have those big dreams for us. And, honestly, I am quite happy here in a place I never dreamed of being, doing things I had never planned on.
Yes, I do have other desires that have been postponed, or I am realizing, may never be fulfilled. But, I have a choice – hang on so tightly to them and become bitter when they are delayed or unfilled? Or, let go and embrace God’s best!
P.S. Also, check out Suzanne's article entitled: "Ruth and Me." : )