Have you ever had a dream that you built your life around; a grand, exciting, and seemingly impossible dream?
Have you ever had a God-given dream that you came to love more than the Giver itself? Has your “yes” ever turned into a “no,” slowly falling out of your grasp? Like watching a glass drop from your hand in slow motion. You’re completely out of control to catch it. You have to slowly watch it fall to the group, shatter, and create a giant mess.
My dream was going on exchange.
I love travelling and my mum’s family lives in the UK. I’m not that close to them but wanted to honour my mum’s heritage. I’ve dreamed for years about studying overseas. The way that my degree has been structured meant that I only had a year-long portal of opportunity. I’m a planner and a control-freak if you haven’t already gathered.
However, my exams dictated whether or not I went on exchange.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, my birthday is right after exams. I went out to dinner with friends to celebrate my birthday and received an email saying exam results were up. I mentioned it to my friends who persuaded me to open them there. I’m normally a very private person but against my better judgment I opened them.
Big uh oh!
Bombed out. A big, fat, massive flop. That was it. I wasn’t going on exchange. I was going to have to face the humility and the embarrassment of being ‘that’ student; the one that talked up her plans, and then failed.
I got home and sobbed. I was angry at my friends for making me look at my results, my boss for making me work ridiculous hours, myself for being such a failure, and God for giving me this dream and then taking it away so brutally.
I was angry, disappointed, and embarrassed, but mostly empty. Eventually I pulled myself together and remembered something I’d always told my friends:
If you’re gonna fight with God, fight with Him, not against Him.
I sat down to do my nightly devotions and opened to the passage we’d learnt from that Sunday at church.
“Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, ‘The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.’ Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.’ And she called his name Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Now I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.” -Genesis 29:31-35 (NKJV)
Simeon means heard. Levi means attach. Judah means praise. Leah’s language changed as she learned to trust in God, rather than Jacob’s love. She learned that God alone is good.
Through this experience, God reminded me of what it means to trust in Him. There had been a whole serious of God-incidences leading up to this moment they did not make sense until now. I was now having an “ah-ha” moment. He took me on a journey of seeing that I had replaced my love for Him with my love for going on exchange.
Would and could I still love and serve Him and the will He has for my life if things don’t work out the way I think they will? He pressed into me: “Am I still good?”
And you know what, He is. Oh, He is so good! He could take away everything I had and He would still be good and He would still be a great God. This experience was hard, but I’m so thankful I went through it.
I press into you to remember that He is good. He has always been, always is, and will always, always be!
By the way, a week later I found out I could still apply for exchange and now am on the way to being accepted into my exchange. But if I’m not accepted, He is still good.
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