When a dream doesn’t come true, it hurts. I should know. I just spent last week sulking and pouting over how much it hurt when my dream come true popped, sending my thoughts flying around in my face in a taunting sort of way. The worst part?
I was mad at God.
Did I have the right to be mad at Him? No. But am I a human being with bratty flesh wanting to get its way? Sure am. And when that toddler-style flesh of mine began to butt heads with the godly spirit inside of me, tugging me in different directions, that’s when the pain became excruciating.
Flesh: I can’t believe God failed me. I can’t believe He let me get hurt.
Spirit: God never fails. Trust Him.
Flesh: This is it. I can’t take any more of this. I’m just going to figure this out on my own and do it my way. Or maybe I’ll just quit.
Spirit: You know better than that. You’ve tried that before. Remember? God has a plan.
Flesh: I’m tired of waiting.
Spirit: Too bad. Look how long Abraham waited. How about the Israelites in the desert?
Flesh: I can’t take the pain of trying and failing over and over again.
Spirit: Who says you’re failing? God never told you that.
Flesh: I may as well get used to folding towels. That’s about all I’m going to do with my life.
Spirit: Now you’re just being ridiculous.
When we believe our dream come true is on this road just up ahead only to find ourselves crashing into a brick wall, a deep and dark discouragement creeps in like a cold shadow on a sunny day. And of course Satan watches from that shadow, waiting to pounce. And when he’s got you pinned to the ground, he will go for your jugular with one of his biggest lies: You don’t need God. That’s. One. Big. Fat. Lie.
My friend, if I’ve learned anything at all this week it’s this: Sometimes God’s plan hurts. But it isn’t meant to hurt us but to grow us, to increase our faith, and to show us another way. And quite possibly it is to prepare us for an even bigger, better plan. Thankfully His plan always includes an airbag.
An airbag? Seriously?
That’s right. If you get your sights set on a goal and you go after it with all you’ve got, speeding and missing God’s warning signs, He will provide an airbag to protect you when you crash into that brick wall.
What are His warning signs?
Stop Ahead: Be Still and Pray
Caution: Approaching Idol Worshipping
Danger: People on Pedestal Zone
Detour: God’s Way, Turn Here
Just this morning I crawled out of my “car,” brushed myself off, and when I looked back to see the wreckage and my pitiful attitude, I took one step from that mess and hit my knees. I thanked God for His protection. And I asked Him to forgive me for being mad at Him because He didn’t give me rocket fuel to propel me into my dream like I wanted. He didn’t work the impossible (which I know He can do) for my benefit. Hmmm. For my benefit?
That is precisely why God let me slam right into the brick wall, my face hitting the airbag. There’s no telling what was on the other side of that wall for me, but if I know my Heavenly Father (and I do), it’s probably much worse than a week of tears and a lonely pity party with a mess of soggy confetti lying around. Perhaps it was the very thing that would lead me away from Him and into the land of Pleasing-Myself where the My-Way trees and the It’s-All-About-Me bushes grow wildly while the Self-Reliant rapids rage.
Or perhaps He simply wanted to protect me, to keep my heart safe and secure with Him. Now that is a detour worth following and a real dream come true.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT.)
“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14 NIV.)
“‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.’” (Psalm 91:14 NIV.)