Dreaming Dreams and Standing Guard

blur-1867402_1920 (1)I love dreaming with God. I love hearing people talk about the dreams God has placed within their hearts. It stirs passion and purpose in us. It makes the hardness of life seem a little less hard. It casts the light of hope over deep, dark, shadowy places in our journey.

But anyone who has ever held a dream knows that faith and courage are required to fight for dreams.

I’ve had Abraham in mind lately. The Father of our faith. The defender of dreams. God made some pretty incredible promises to him in Genesis, and he chose to believe God in the face of facts that blatantly contradicted all possibility of the dreams of God’s heart for him. His is the faith we have inherited – the faith we, too, are called to possess.

This challenges me.

It’s easy for me to believe God’s promise of salvation, His promise of presence, His promise of always working all things out for my good. By His grace, I have embraced these realities.

But there are other realities I am still struggling to embrace.

It’s not as easy for me to believe that God can take my whole family and cause us to love Him deeply and serve Him passionately, together.  Or that He intends for all of my future generations to walk in the fullness of His promises. This is hard because our family is made up of so many broken people from so many varied backgrounds. We are blended in complicated ways, and there have been influences that seem to make barren the very lives God has called out as real estate for building His dreams.

But Abraham believed.

Even when God’s dream was just a word. No seed given. No evidence available. Just a conversation and an invitation to see beyond what Abraham would ever know in his own lifetime.

I would imagine that Abraham faced many a battle in continuing to believe that dream, especially as the years went by with no growing evidence of its coming to pass. I wonder what his unrecorded conversations with the Lord were like. Were there seasons of silence? Seasons of frustration? Seasons of surrendering the hope? Surely he had no concept of how God would perform His Word, what His dream would actually look like. I wonder if he felt like he was walking in the dark?

Sometimes I do.

But I learn something from Abraham, as I lean into his story. Despite the lack of clarity in the details, despite the years that must have felt like a treacherous wilderness, despite the seeming impossibility of what God was dreaming for in his life, Abraham fought for the preservation of the promise.

One night, as Abraham talked with God, God gave him some specific instructions (Genesis 15). He told him to gather a few animals and arrange them as sacrifices. Abraham did as he was instructed, and then commenced to wait.

Waiting is a tricky time when stewarding the dreams of God’s heart. As Abraham waited, vultures began to circle overhead, intending to come down and devour the sacrifices he had made. Those sacrifices would become the scene for an encounter with God that would seal Abraham’s promise. God was going to meet him there, on that very ground, and commit Himself to performing that Word  – to birthing that dream, using only Abraham’s simple faith. All he had to do was believe God, and he would see it come to pass.

This is significant, because Abraham was far from perfect. He would still make some grave mistakes in his journey. Had God not encountered Abraham that night, between those sacrifices, and pledged to take full responsibility for bringing His dream to pass, I wonder if Abraham would have given up his hope? If the dream was dependent on Abraham’s own ability, I wonder how long he would have lasted before giving up and moving on to easier things?

Thankfully, we will never know, because Abraham was on guard that day.

In a display of courage, Abraham fought off the vultures that came to steal what he didn’t even fully understand. He valued the voice and presence and friendship of God so much that, even before he knew what God was about to do, He determined he would not let anything rob him of something God intended for him to have.

This blows my mind!

There are dreams I know God has dreamt for me and for my family, and I can’t see the whole picture yet. Sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to make sense of it all. Sometimes I feel like I might not see their fulfillment in my lifetime, and like it would be easier to focus on something a bit more tangible. But when God plants a dream in your heart, it doesn’t die easily. God will keep coming back to remind you that He still intends to fulfill it, and to ask if you will cooperate with Him for it.

And in the meantime, the vultures are circling around our dreams, hoping to devour them. The enemy is waiting for just the right opportunity to interrupt an encounter with God that will bring us into a restful confidence and a firm conviction  that He will indeed do as He has asked us to believe Him to.

So, dear Woman of Breakthrough, how do we do as our Father Abraham did? How do we fight off the vultures that come to steal our dreams?

I think we can learn a lot by considering Abraham’s encounter with God that day, and the covenant God made with him. What Abraham fought for was simply the protection of what God had asked for. There was no way Abraham could make God’s dream become reality. There was nothing he could do to produce the promise that was made. Abraham simply had to fight so that nothing would swoop in on his time of waiting for the Lord to do His part. God only asked him to bring the sacrfice, and wait.

That waiting had to be undistracted, even though it was more than likely filled with questions, and certainly filled with predators.

As you wait for God to fulfill His promises to you – the dreams of His heart, are you undistracted? Are you intent on guarding what’s been shared with you? Are you certain that God will come and speak, where you have made room for Him? Are you still as passionate about seeing His dreams come to pass as He is?

I don’t know how else to translate this except to say that when God gives you a promise that He dreams of fulfilling in your life, it matters that you do more than put it on a shelf, or hold it out for everyone to see. It matters that you enter into continual conversation with Him about it, that you dream with Him, and that you cultivate the space for intimate relationship to grow.

I didn’t plan to write about this today, but I see vultures circling in the spiritual realms, and I sense that there are Heavenly dreams at stake, dreams God wants to use to bless the world and bring them closer to Him. You and I must be willing to take seriously the things God has planned to do through our lives, and the means by which He has planned to do them.

The vultures didn’t come for Abraham’s dream. They came for the vehicle that would birth the dream: Abraham’s simple faith in God’s promise to act. If they could have devoured the sacrifice Abraham laid out, they would have aborted the encounter that God used to establish Himself as the One responsible for bringing His promises to birth. And the generations of Abraham would still be striving to make their own things happen.

God wants to dream with us, in us, and through us. But we must learn how to hold His dreams, even while they are still taking shape. We must become trustworthy guardians, willing to fight off the vultures that come to distract us from spending time with Him and rooting all of our trust in Him. We must be prepared to defend the dreams He plants within our hearts by standing firm and keeping our hearts rooted in intimate relationship with Him.

As a steward of God’s dreams, I know the journey is sometimes long and ambiguous. I know well the temptation to give up, or shift my focus to something that feels more possible, more immediate, and more sensible. But there are dreams planted in my heart that I know I cannot bring to pass, and God fully intends to. As I meditate on Abraham’s courage and determination, I am challenged to draw nearer and contend more courageously for what God has promised,.

I don’t know what dreams you’ve been entrusted with, but I know those dreams will most certainly come under attack. I know the vultures will circle overhead, if they haven’t already. So I want to encourage you to stand your ground, and re-embrace your dreams, and give God the room and time to speak to you about His plans. As you do, I am certain you will receive the faith you need to hold those dreams until their birthing hour.

Today is a good day to reprioritize some time and give God a place to encounter you. There are wonderful things He has planned, and they will require an undistracted space devoted to just waiting on Him. Perhaps one of the vultures we must fight off is the constant interruption that steals us away from committed time in His presence?

God is a covenant-keeping God. If He has made you a promise, He intends to keep it. So guard it diligently, and stay in conversation with Him about it. There will be great rejoicing as God fulfills His plans in ways we could never have come close to by our own attempts. We haven’t much time left, so let us be purposeful with our time, and intentional about guarding our dreams!

{Photo Images Courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 


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