My heart sank as I walked back into my office. All of the dreams I’d allowed myself to conjure, those warm, weightless dreams that cause you to bubble over with excitement, were now lying around me, pointed shards of glass. That’s what happens when God says “No”.
A few weeks before, I had some missionary friends over to the house for a visit. While I can’t disclose from where they came; I can say they easily spent 24 hours in the air, flying to America to greet us. Through them, I became aware of an opportunity, a glorious opportunity that would allow me to support their ministry (and others like it) from here in the States.
While I was excited about the opportunity, I tried hard not to get my hopes up, but this was proving increasingly difficult as in the coming weeks I began to see sign after sign that I was to continue down this path. Our missionary’s country would pop-up as the topic of conversation in a variety of group discussions and at the most random times. It seemed as if God was actually allowing this opportunity, this dream to come to fruition. Until, one day…
I woke up that day, my heart aflutter with excitement. I couldn’t explain it. I just knew that I was going to receive my long awaited phone call that day. The morning began as any other; I went to my reading chair for some quiet time with the Lord. I’ve been working my way through Acts, and that day, I opened to the following scripture.
I sensed then, that the opportunity would not happen, the doors would not open for me. Yet, I still hoped that they would. Then, I got that phone call… and suddenly, the dream that was, wasn’t. I wouldn’t be able to help my friends after all, and I was crushed.
I imagine Paul felt similarly when the doors closed on him to Asia. He must have felt such a burden for the people there whom he so longed to see. Too often, I think we skim over such details. We tend to read them as dry facts instead of as occurrences, situations that were probably very troubling, even heartbreaking for those involved. Paul, the rest of the apostles, and the disciples weren’t super humans; they weren’t extra. They had feelings just like we do, and sometimes those feeling get hurt.
Yet, we can take some inspiration from Paul. He was still obedient to God no matter how he felt, and God can always re-purpose your dream for good–for His glory! (If you need proof just read Acts 16:8-10.)