In any case--most of that is largely irrelevant, I just wanted to introduce you to the amazingness that is my best friend. Last evening, we drove together to church (well, she drove; I sat in the passenger seat and talked. Since both of us driving, or even just me driving, might have led to quite a bit of confusion), and we were talking a little about praying big and, as an extension of that, dreaming big.
While I was in China, the campers would attend lectures on different subjects. Teamwork, changing the world, that sort of thing. One of the lectures at Sunshine was about our dreams--the things we want to see happen, the things that would make our individual worlds perfect, the things that we would die happy after having seen. The speaker had us all write down our dream. Then he told us to look at our dream and ask ourselves how "big" it was.
Things like wanting to be a doctor, wanting to travel, wanting to get married, those are "little" dreams--so little, in fact, that they're hardly dreams at all. They're attainable goals, things we're looking forward to doing. A true dream is the absolute height that we can imagine. It is the deepest desire of our heart. A true dream is something so hugely audacious, so ridiculous, so fantastically absurd, that it seems as if it will never come true. A true dream is something that only a miracle can bring you.
My dream, if you'd like to know, is that there not be a child in the world without a home.
That there not be a home without adequate food and water.
That there not be a person who has to die because they didn't get a pill.
That there not be corruption.
That there not be wars that cause so much harm to ordinary people.
That is my dream. It is something so amazingly, ridiculously huge that only God could bring it about. And that, truly, is what a dream is. It's something that seems impossible--is impossible--without God. It is something that, even with God's help, we can barely imagine. It is something that seems almost absurd to us. It's the stuff, literally, of dreams.
We have a God who delights in making dreams come true. He's the one who took a poor shepherd boy and turned him into the greatest king ever known. He's the one who took a lowly fisherman and turned him into one of his most important apostles. He's the one who took a prostitute and made her an ancestor of his son. He's the one who took so many mess-ups, rejects, and disappointments and turned them into masterpieces. He's the author and finisher of our faith, a master painter who delights in blowing our minds.
He's the one who said "whatsoever ye ask, ye shall receive." That, to me, is a challenge. He's saying--"Yeah, you can pray for the health of your dog. You can pray for all sorts of small important things. Or you can pray something completely crazy, and watch me work."
Sometimes we have trouble with that "whatsoever". It's implied over and over that praying for crazy things just hurts us. Praying for things that we know won't happen will just hurt our faith. That, ultimately, they might even be selfish prayers and hence sinful. But I don't think so. I mean, sure, if you pray for a million dollars, not only will it hurt your image of God when you don't get it, but it's also very selfish. But that's not the sort of prayer I'm talking about.
I'm talking about praying for the presence of God to settle on a mosque.
I'm talking about praying for the healing of a family that's rejected God.
I'm talking about praying for the miracles that God can do to settle upon a nation.
I'm talking about praying for God to reveal himself to a tribe that's never heard.
Sometimes these prayers can be answered in the craziest ways, it's true. Sometimes God will answer those prayers by sending you to that mosque or those tribes or that nation. Sometimes God will completely blow your mind, and even make you a little afraid, with the way he'll answer things. But if he put you into it, he has a plan. He had a plan since before you voiced the prayer.
Don't be afraid to dream big dreams, and to pray big prayers that go along with them. Dream big, pray big, and do it with freedom, because you have a God that's bigger than any dream you could possibly imagine.