Dwight Fletcher | Yes I Can Dream Again - Part III
This week, we continue to encourage ourselves with another in the ‘Yes I Can’ series. Do you have a dream for your life? A dream can be an idea, a vision, a goal or an ambition. It can be the influence of God on our hearts and minds to get things done. But how would you know if your dream is from God?
Firstly, the dream will always line up with God's will and it will be a persistent idea that advances the kingdom of God. In addition, we can ask God to confirm our dreams. God gave Noah the dream of building an ark. The only challenge is that Noah lived in the desert – not the usual place to build a big boat. He was hundreds of miles from any known body of water, but he was certain that God had given him that goal.
Knowing that our ambitions are from God is just phase one[i].
Phase two involves making the decision to reclaim those dreams. Nothing is going to happen until we decide to do something.
There are lots of dreamers in the world, but there are few decision makers. If we are not quite sure what to do we have to ask God what to do. “But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such a person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” James 1:6-7 NLT.
Faith is a verb
We should follow the advice of the passage, and not waver. That’s how faith is developed. Faith is a verb. It is active and not passive. Faith requires action. We must decide to overcome our paralysis, put ourselves in the right company, commit our plans to The Lord and, refuse to be denied until we accomplish our dreams.
In Phase three, our dream may appear to move outside of the realm of our expectations. Oftentimes God will give us a dream but He will not fulfil it immediately, there may be a delay – “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.” Habakkuk 2:3a TLB. Habakkuk had asked God when He was going to save Israel, and this was God’s answer. God said, “I will do it, but it’s going to take time.”
When we get to phase three, we often find ourselves asking the question: “When, Lord? When are You going to fulfil the dream?” Have you ever been in a hurry when God wasn’t? It can be stressful for us.
In our hearts we expect a smooth ride but God’s plan is different than we expect. Think about it - Joseph spent years as a slave in Potiphar’s house and as a convict in a jail cell waiting for the promise to be fulfilled.
In this phase of reclaiming our dreams, we should expect to experience delays.
Do you know that when God gives you a dream He uses a very predictable process to build both your faith and your character as you go forward? Everything God does is about building your faith. Faith is like a muscle: It can be weak or it can be strong, depending on how much you use it. “… without faith it is impossible to please God…,” Hebrews 11:6 NIV.
God took Moses out of Pharaoh’s courts where he had learned management and carried him to Midian where he learned to be a shepherd. The Israelites needed a shepherd. For Moses this was preparation to lead and care for God's people.
The delay comes so that God can prepare us. We learn from having to wait. We learn to trust God. We learn that His timing is always perfect. We learn to deal with doubt. But the bottom line is: having to wait always strengthens our faith.
If we don’t understand the process of accomplishing our dreams, we might quit prematurely, abort the plans of God and end up unfulfilled.
“Do not be afraid for I am your God. Do not be discouraged for I am with you. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand,” Isaiah 41:10 NLT. God says He will strengthen, help and keep us from falling IF we believe He is God and that He is near. That’s putting our faith in something concrete!
Are you working out your dream and it seems like it is being delayed? Don’t get frustrated… hold on. God is preparing you to say “Yes I Can Dream Again!”
[i] These phases are from a model by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, USA.