After my graduation, someone I look up to gave me a gift. A book titled Imagine Big by Terri Savalle. When she gave it to me, I was still in this foolish and childish phase of saying that I don’t read motivational books. But I trust her opinion, plus there us no book she has ever given me that didn’t bless me immensely. So because of her, despite the title of that book sounding motivational, I knew I would read it. I was going through a rough phase where reading became a burden rather than something I enjoy doing as usual, so since I’m now out of that wilderness, I’ve just started eading it seriously of late.
Chapter 1 is basically asking one what you want. Trust me, that sounds easy until you have to get a pen and a paper and write your dreams down. I realised that, that part of me that used to dream died a long time ago. It took me a few days to at least start answering that question truthfully. And so far I’m at number 57 of my dream list. Its been interesting realizing those things that my heart wants. Some I’ve always known, like being an environmentalist worth her salt in Africa, while some took me by surprise like wanting to meet Strive Masiyiwa. Some are borne out of circumstances I went through, like an interview of an institution I really wanted to work in but didn’t get, while some are from curiosity purely.
Nevertheless, that’s not what I want us to talk about today. Its about faith and the place of our dreams when it comes to God. Today my devotion comes from Romans 4;17-21 which shall take us through how Abraham handled his promise or his dream of a son in his life.
“17. As it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’– in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.18. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, ‘So shall your descendants be’. 19. He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God. 21. Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
1. In the presence of God
Verse 17 tells us that this promise was in the presence of God. And my desire as I write down my list is that all these dreams go hand in hand with what God wants. Which is why Terri in the book Imagine Big insists that one should ask the Holy Spirit to assist them as they imagine their future. I don’t want to craft my own plans outside of God’s will and then come insisting that He blesses them. TD Jakes was preaching the other day that part of our problem is that , God tells us clearly that He has a plan for us. We go out there and make mistakes, get attached to them and then drag them to God asking Him to now make a plan for our mistake or change His plan to include these other result we have as a result of our own doing. You get this clearly from Ishmael’s story. As much as He was not the promised baby, Abraham loved Him and wanted Him to at least get blessed too. So purpose to have your will aligned to God’s will.
2. God gives life to dead
There might be things I think I’ve lost capability of doing due to one reason or another. But the God I believe in, is in the business of giving life to dead things or circumstances. So don’t rule anything out of your dream list simply because of an incapability.
God Calls into Existence things that don’t exist
In simple terms, I don’t have almost all things in my dream list nor do I have the means to achieve them. But my God calls into existence things that don’t exist. So my reality is in no way going to put something off my list. There also things I want that don’t exist, literally. You know those things you want to create but have never heard or seen them anywhere? Like if you succeed , you will be the first one in the world to do so? Well, God calls into existence things that don’t exist. He had my back.
3. Whom He believed.
We are not told Abraham believed a lot or less. We are just told he believed. So its either you believe in God being able to give you all your dreams or nothing. I can’t believe God will give me a job then not believe that the same God will take me to Malawi. Its either I believe or not. And I choose to believe.
4. In Hope He believed against Hope
Hope is realistic. For example, after the end of every semester I used to hope I pass the exams. Why, because I had done the exams and there was a chance of me doing well in them.
But now imagine, hoping I pass my exams when I have never ever stepped into a school let alone an exam room. Is there hope there? No. This are the exact circumstances that Abraham found himself in and that almost all my dreams falls under. Where you are hoping to pass exams when you didn’t sit for any.
Hope against hope. Faith calls us to go against the kawaida hope that depends on circumstances being right for a chance of things turning out the way you want them to. It calls us to believe that things will turn out well even when the situation that is supposed to be turning out well doesn’t exist. And I choose to hope against hope that my dreams shall come to pass.
5. He did not weaken in faith when he considered His Reality
Abraham looked at his age and at Sarah’s barrenness and did not weaken in faith. A lot of people when you are setting out goals with tell you to be Realistic. Faith goes against and beyond reality. No one will tell me to be realistic about my dreams, not when faith does not consider present circumstances.
You see, it is possible , very possible actually for faith to be weakened by present circumstances. I’ve been there. When you look around and all you see is a desert and you need water asap. But Abraham’s faith was not weakened, meaning its a conscious choice he made. And so do I, that my faith will not be weakened by my present circumstances or reality.
6. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God.
Distrust means feeling that someone or something cannot be relied on. It is to doubt the honesty or reliability of someone.
Abraham choose to never feel as if the promise of God could not be relied on and neither did he regard it with suspicion. Unlike in the above point where its external forces that were in play, this one is internal. This is where people’s words can get into you and make you doubt what you know is true. Its where Satan asks, “Did He really say…?”. Its where shortcuts come in. Like you know you wanted X,and you knew in your heart that God would give it to you, but since God is taking too long, you decide to bribe your way into it. The end doesn’t justify the means when it comes to God. Any son isn’t a fulfillment of God’s word that He will give you a son. And just like Abraham I choose to feel that God’s word, that He will fulfill my heart’s desires, can be relied upon. God is honest and Reliable.
7. But he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.
Now, let’s backtract a little. Abraham knew that God is honest and reliable. His faith was also not weakening due to his reality. So why not stop, isn’t that enough? Well, have you ever heard of this saying, that if you don’t grow, you die? There isn’t an in between of just standing. Its either you are growing or dying.
This applies in faith matters too. Faith is like currency. If your million bob today can but you a house. And you put it under your mattress, after seven years, the same one million will not be able to buy you the same house. It will have weakened in value.
Same thing, when God told Abraham He would give Him a son, Abraham must have felt happy. He must have easily believed that word. Then 10yrs pass, his wife and Him are growing way older. They are now almost a century old. Do you think the faith he started with, is enough to sustain his stand on God’s word now when the reality and present circumstances are much worse? Definitely no. Only a stronger faith would stand the test of time.
So how did his faith grow strong? By giving glory to God. Instead of focusing on his circumstances or himself, his focus was on God. This here is very important, as much as I’m writing and getting excited at my dreams, my focus should not be on my reality or myself but on God. The one who gives me my heart desires. The promise keeper. Otherwise its very easy for my circumstances to weaken my faith and for me to distrust the promises of God. What makes the difference is where I put my focus on. And focusing on God sees my faith grow strong thus making it possible to withstand more harder times ahead.
8. Fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.
Convinced means completely certain about something.
Fully means a 100% not 99.9%.
Now you notice that after focusing on God, Abraham now looks at his promise as achievable. The way we love doing our plans is the complete opposite of this. First of all, we confirm if what we want is in existence. Secondly we ask ourselves if we can get it, if its realistic enough. Thirdly we now bring it to God.
While its actually supposed to be the other way around. First we should ask ourselves, is God able to do what He has placed in my heart and what His word says to me? Then just like Abraham, that matter becomes settled in our hearts. We become fully convinced that God will do it for us, that our dreams will come true.
And as I wind up, in case you need a soft copy of the book *Imagine Big* by Terry Savalle, just ask me for it. And on motivation books, let’s just say ignorance is a bad disease. And I’m getting well soon( he he).