I hate seeing others give up on things. I don’t just mean giving up on a project or even a tough relationship. I mean giving up on the dreams that God gives a person.
I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately in different circles on how most people never reach ‘the other side’. The other side being the end fulfillment of a promise God has given them.
The Israelites were promised the land of milk and honey, and a journey that should have taken them 11 days took them 40 years to accomplish. 11 days, and they wandered for 40 years. All because they didn’t trust God completely, because all they wanted to do was complain, because they just didn’t care to listen. They didn’t get that God was already doing so much in their lives, and they wanted the Promised Land without going through the discipline to obtain it.
I think there are a good percentage of us that are the same way. God gives us a promise, a dream, a goal in this life, and at first we go after it with such fervor. It’s a little like a new relationship, where the butterflies are in our stomach, where everything about the dream feels new and alive and exciting.
Then the fervor starts to die out, then the real commitment and the telltale signs of sacrifice start to make themselves visible, and in place of the excitement and the butterflies, panic takes up residence.
How did we get here? This isn’t where God said I’d be going. Then we mumble and complain. God lets circumstances build up to sandpaper our negative attributes from our personalities and the doubt from our faith, but we struggle against the discipline and only sink deeper into despair. God won’t come through on His promise, we think. We were mistaken, God wasn’t really promising us this or that. It was wishful thinking on our part. Just our imaginations at work.
Once our own self-doubt is set up, then the fun really starts. Certain individuals in our circle of friends and family rise up to show us the very folly of our ways. “God didn’t tell you that,” they say. “You were mistaken. Go back to your 9-5 job, go back to the man or woman who doesn’t love you, go back to the pitiful life you were living before God breathed life into your veins, breathed the impossible into your imagination.”
These haters, these naysayers, are usually those who were called to better roads but decided they didn’t want to get the hem of their gowns dirty with the terrain. It was too much work for them, too much discipline and dependence on God.
And to top it all off, the circumstances come in shortly after we’ve been berated by ourselves and our next of kin. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, the very law of Murphy himself. A whirlwind of chaos spins us off our feet and drops us somewhere we don’t recognize, somewhere unfamiliar. We wonder if God is even awake up there in his heavenly realm, we wonder if we aren’t going just a little bit crazy thinking God would come through on the dreams and desires he placed within us.
We forget everything God promised us. We forget the whispers to our spirit. We forget the subtle signs, we forget the words that were spoken into our lives by the friends and family who are actually in tune with God’s nature. We forget all of the confirmation. We forget all of it and allow panic and doubt and fear to anchor our hearts and mind.
And that’s when most of us quit. We throw in the towel, we give up and go back to our humdrum lives, back to Egypt where we’d rather be in slavery eating the food of kings than die at the hands of Pharaoh’s army eating manna.
If we’re really listening at this point, we can hear God let out a great big sigh. A sigh of disappointment. We could have been so much more, we could have had so much more. So much more of Him, so much more of the dreams He had in store for us since before we were born.
Looking on those who gave up are those few who made it to the other side. Those who put their complete and utter faith in God and followed Him to the end of the road, and if required, off the cliff. How many of us have actually driven off the cliff (metaphorically of course) and found God’s hands along the edge waiting to catch us? Very few. The feeling is exhilarating indeed, but that’s not the point. The point is God will see us through. The Promised Land, our Promised Land, is the point where the dreams that are churning within us and the Godly fulfillment of those dreams and promises all collide with our reality .
I’m going to be one of those who makes it to the other side. It’s in view, out on the horizon, not too far now. There may be some broken bridges between here and there. There may be some dark skies. There may even be more pain and more sacrifice along the way. But these dreams – these promises – that God birthed within me are fueling me toward that finish line. I’ll see the fulfillment of them. I know I will.
And when I do, when I make it to the ‘other side’, I promise to send those who doubted me and/or God a postcard.
Are you chasing a dream? Don’t let anyone or anything (except God) stand in your way or prevent you from getting to the other side. When the chaos comes in to steal your peace, remember everything He told you in the quiet times.