Even if He doesn’t

Last week I received an update from a friend who is still chasing a dream to begin a charter school. She has worked incredibly hard over the past few years despite numerous setbacks and delays. Last I’d heard from her, one of the most difficult obstacles had finally been overcome. It was time. Everything was about to come together. Despite all our hopes however, it did not. So once again the page reads “one more year”. In the face of further delay, she has chosen to find work this year while continuing to lay the groundwork for the school to come.

Reading her letter, I found myself empathetic to her struggle but also encouraged by her determination and perseverance. She continues to hope for both the future and the present, and she is still chasing her dream. I wanted to thank her for that gift, so I replied. I hoped to encourage her as she encouraged me and offer prayer and hope for God to provide the exact type of position she sought. It was here that these four words crept into my mind, “even if He doesn’t”. I deleted them almost immediately. Those words startled me, but as I thought them through I began to understand their importance. There are simply no guarantees. We can trust that God will be with us. We can trust that He will meet our needs. Outside of that, we just don’t know. Even this school that she’s worked so hard to begin might not come to be. That thought is heartbreaking, but the possibility exists. And if that happens, what of all the effort? What of the blood, sweat and tears invested toward the dream? Does it have any value?

The answer is yes. It does.

I am reminded of the opening scene in Pixar’s UP. Two young adventurers find love and a common dream. A dream they spend their life chasing together. But time after time life gets in the way of their dream until time runs out and his wife passes away. She never reaches their destination. She never sees their dream realized. It’s heartbreaking, but as we watch their life unfold I don’t think any of us would say those years were without meaning or value. Sadly, in the face of things like that in my own life, that’s exactly what I’m sometimes tempted to believe. It’s as if the only value is found in reaching the destination.

Slowly the lesson is hitting home. Life is a journey, and life with God is a journey with God. Every day and every decision matters not because of where it takes us, but for all that is being created in us. We grow. We grow as individuals. We grow in our relationship with others. We grow in our relationship with God. All the while, our life bears testimony to all those around us looking in. Even if they don’t see us living our dream in the wilds of South America, they see our determination. They see our perseverance. They see our heartbreak, our struggles and our tears, but they also see our joy, our successes and our hope. And much as we watch the story of Carl Fredricksen and his wife in UP, they watch our story, and as they cry with us, rejoice with us, and hope with us, we all grow closer to one another and to God.

So where there are dreams I will trust that “even if He doesn’t…”, I will find blessing and hope in living and knowing Him. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t hope that He does!




One thought on “Even if He doesn’t

  1. Wise words. As much as I miss my brother, losing him when he was only 17 (I had just turned 20) shifted my focus from simply achieving goals to remembering to live in the now as well. I learned how to embrace happiness/contentment as a state of being rather than as a destination. Our elaborate plans can go poof in an instant. That doesn’t mean we give up, or not try at all, but rather enjoy and learn from the journey.
    So, no matter what I do or do not achieve, I aim to live a life that impacts others in a positive manner, as that is a daily thing. Parenthood is one of those things that if you focus too hard on the end goal, you miss the now, even when the now is frustrating or painful.

    Awhile back my sis posted a FB thing where people interviewed their kids, asking questions like, “what do you do together?” Or “how is your mom/dad a positive influence?”
    For the latter question, my daughter said something along these lines “She’s a good example. Like, she tries to be healthy, reads books, she’s a scientist, she stops to help animals when she can, or if she has money she gives it to homeless people.”
    In that one moment I saw myself reflected in my daughter’s eyes and whether I fail at writing or never discover a single significant thing in science, it doesn’t matter. I am loved and she respects me and sees the lessons I try to teach. Especially now, as we sometimes go head to head and it takes every ounce of my patience to calmly deal with over emotional teens, little moments like that remind me of the importance of the journey.

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