Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Standing in Awe

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.

Ecclesiastes 5.7

Dreams and Drama

Dreams are essential to the human spirit. They focus our ideals and fire our passions. They inspire us to speak out, to convey our deep-seated desire to change things for good. It’s a safe guess that every major advance in history started with a dream. When we’re not careful, though, dreams can get tricky. They can induce types of highly addictive euphoria and self-aggrandizement that derail the objectives behind them. If it hasn’t happened to some of us, we’ve witnessed it in others. Dreams become things unto themselves, detached from reality and divorced from logic. Caring more about them than what they promise trivializes our dreams into hollow drama—famously described by Shakespeare as “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Our Sleepless God

God doesn’t dream. In Psalm 121.3, we learn He doesn’t even sleep: “He who watches over you will not slumber.” It makes sense. With all of us chasing dreams and manufacturing drama, how could He risk closing His eyes for a second? As with any good parent, His children's dreams keep Him wide-awake.

But the comparison stops there, because He’s better than the rest regarding our dreams. He knows them and us, why they’re important to us, and—above anything—the motives and conditions that conjure them. He has total command of the workings of the world, what’s required to realize our dreams, and every complication going into and coming out of them. From there, He puts things together for our good. (Romans 8.28) Depending on what’s best, either He reshapes reality to our dreams OR He reshapes us to our reality.

Indefinite Deferrals

That “OR” is often tough to handle. Once we start sensing God wants to change us instead of what we want changed, we grow disenchanted and even try to regain control of our dreams. It’s an unfortunate move, however, since it inevitably results in an indefinite deferral. According to David, being happy with God’s work in our lives affects our dreams. “Delight yourself in the LORD,” Psalm 37.7 says, “and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

It’s that basic: no delight, no dream. When we get that, we stop holding onto dreams, talking them up. We start standing in awe, bedazzled by our Creator’s power and wisdom to see through our dreams to the desires driving them. If we truly want God to do awesome things in us, for us, and through us, we’ll make Habakkuk 3.2 our heart’s prayer: “I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known.”

(Tomorrow: Standing in Integrity)

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