Monday, October 27, 2008

When Lfe Doesn't Measure Up (2) -- Hope Chronicles 74

Yesterday, I wrote the first bit about life not measuring up. If you haven't read it, scroll down to read that post.

That post ended by talking about how Sarah laughed at God but He still followed through with His promise and Sarah got what she most desperately desired. God is faithful to every promise, but sometimes we get a "Yes" and sometimes a "Wait" and sometimes a "No." The question becomes, will we still trust God with the dreams we hold most dear?

Scripture is clear that unmet hopes have a strong impact on us. Proverbs 13:12 states, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Heart sick. It carries with it the connotation of something that impacts us to our deepest core. Perhaps that is what makes it so accurate. Our deepest longings are those that touch our core.

I shared Carolyn McCulley's quote yesterday. "When our prayers seem to go unheeded, we can learn to live in unexpectant apathy. We go through the motions, but we're not convinced that God will bless us. Bottom line, ugly truth: We don't really trust God."

It is an ugly truth isn't it? If you are a Christian, you may trust God with your salvation but fail to trust Him with your deepest desires. We pull back from admitting to others where our heart's desire lies. Eventually, we may decide to not even pray about it. Why keep praying if the answer is "No." We may secretly feel that God just doesn't care.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. The cross is answer enough to that.

Yes, it is. But it may not feel like it on an emotional level. Sarah got her heart's desire. But we must be careful here on two points. Sarah got exactly what she wished for even though it was not on her time table. This doesn't mean we just have be patient and we will get what we want. Admitting that can feel like giving up on God. That "unexpectant apathy" can lurk in the corner of our minds."

Admitting that our dreams may not look the way we envisioned is the beginning of allowing God to expand our dreams. I still hope (while quickly approaching 40) for a husband and kids born from my body, carried under my heart. I long for healed relationships but have no clue how to heal them. I dream of a thriving practice. The list could go on and on. But instead of holding the dreams myself, I try to let God hold them. Instead of demanding they be met in my way and in my time, I pray that God will give me the strength to allow Him creative license in my life. After all, I'm only borrowing this body from Him.

But do our dreams matter. Yes, they matter to us. More importantly, they matter to God. Repeatedly scripture tells us that God is clost to the brokenhearted and that one of the reason's Jesus came was to bind them up.

While God will comfort us, we also have a choice to make. Pslam 42 gives a great picture of hope in the midst of hard. The pslamist's tears are described as his food and his soul as downcast. But repeatedly he admonishes himself:

"Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Instead of pretending that those dreams and things don't matter, the psalmist chooses three things:
  • He pours out his soul to God -- including his suspicion (vs. 9) that God has forgotten him. He tells God all of his suffering.
  • He chooses to remember God in the midst of pain.
  • He chooses to praise the God who is his savior.
How do you hope in the midst of unmet longing? Talk to God. Remember all that God has done in your life. Praise God for who He is.

There is one more key to hope in verses 1-2 of this psalm. It says:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you O'God
My soul thirsts for God,
for the lviing God.
When can I go and meet with God?

God is pictured as life giving water. Proverbs 13:12 described longing fulfilled as a tree of life. The psalmist recognizes God as the fulfillment of all longing.

When we choose to hope in God, God gently holds our dreams adn then meets the deepest longings of our hearts with His presence. Sometimes it isn't until we drink deeply of hope that we realize how thristy we were or how satisfying God is.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear amy,
This was just wonderful. I have just been thinking alot about dreams and what they might mean.
I just wrote a post about feeling like my dreams were taken away, and being afraid to dream anymore. Afraid to trust God with my heart and dreams.
Come on over and read it if you haven't yet; and when i get a chance (probably once everyone is in bed tonight) I will come back and read your posts, take more time to really soak them in.. I don't think it was an accident that God had you writing some of the same things that i have been thinking and praying about.
I will be back!
God bless you,