The Dream is Free, the Journey Isn’t

The Dream is Free, the Journey Isn'tI remember the moment I first read my favorite expression about the dreams that God gives. I had just walked into a friend’s house on New Years’ Eve and there it was, hand painted on a canvas: “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.”

The moment I read it, I felt this great sense of conviction. Maybe it was the adrenaline of a New Year’s promise, maybe it was a realization that I had “dumbed-down” my dream to make it fit the limited resources I saw around me. Maybe it was an acknowledgement that I had simply given up on how big God really was. Whatever the case, I knew I had to take a second look at what I was pursuing for God’s Kingdom.

I remember during the early days of my faith journey, there were lots of dreams. For me, Jeremiah 33:3 was God’s great invitation to dream with him: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.” It was God’s way of saying to me; I want to show you something bigger and greater than anything you’ve ever imagined. So, keep calling and every step you take will make the next step clearer.”
But after a few life disappointments, optimism can fade pretty quickly. Pursuing God-sized dreams is tough stuff. It’s mostly uphill climbing. It’s mostly not a stress-free existence…but as I turn the pages of scripture, I see it has always been that way.

Even a brief read of the Bible reveals this universal struggle – God has given me this dream, but the current realities make it seem impossible. It is Joseph reflecting on his dream as he sits in prison. It is Moses the deliverer exiled, feeding sheep in the wilderness. It is the anointed King David running for his life, hiding in a cave. I know they had to wonder, “Is what God showed me real?” Is it ever going to happen?”
If you’ve ever wondered why the dream takes so long or is so hard to realize, I hope you know that you are in very good company. I hope you can also see that the company of men and women who pressed on found that God actually went beyond what they imagined in the first place.

And herein lies the lesson: The dream is free, the journey isn’t.

God wants us to dream, but he doesn’t want us to be naïve. He wants us to hold on to the dream, and to not give up when it gets hard. Consider God’s simple encouragement to the prophet Habakkuk about the timing of his vision: “though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come” (Habakkuk 2:3).

When I came to 4KIDS almost fifteen years ago, we were pursuing this big dream – a home for every child. A home isn’t just a roof and three meals a day. Home represents to us a place where kids are known and loved. A place where children understand they are safe and belong. Home is where they know that someone believes in them enough to walk their journey with them. This is not just a dream for a few; this is our dream for every lost and hurting child.

Then, in the middle of funding cuts and closed doors, you can begin to wonder. On the weeks where there are two steps forward and three steps backward you can begin to scratch your head. Is the dream too big? Is this really God’s dream? But then I see what home does for a child. I see the smile and the security and the wonder coming back into the eyes of a child. Its like watching someone be raised from the dead… and so you pray, grit your teeth and say “Lord, let’s go get the next one.” And we keep going because we know God gave us this dream.

My challenge to you is to keep pursuing a God-inspired dream for your life. And remember, if it isn’t a little scary, dream bigger.

Pastor Doug Sauder is a south Florida native and the President of 4KIDS of South Florida. He has served at risk youth for more than 20 years as a public school teacher, coach, local pastor, and foster parent. As an adoptive parent, conference speaker, author, and mentor, he is passionate about inspiring people to fulfill God’s call to care for the orphan and the widow.

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