When you dream a dream as an adult — I mean a moon-sized daydream — you often discount it. I do. You’ve been disappointed in life, had some dreams not pan out (maybe most), and so like money to be earned in the future, you discount it to present value. Which often turns out to be nada, or near nada. Like telling me I can have 1 million Ugandan shillings, only realizing that this stupendous-sounding amount is really only 50 cents. Oh boy.
We do the same thing with prayer sometimes. I do. I pray for life-changing conversion of a person’s life, a thoroughgoing reformation, and then discount it, as in “may not happen in my lifetime,” or “may not happen at all,” until some nagging devil on my shoulder says “what’s the use?” What’s the use in praying for national revival, for the Supreme Court, for legislators, for love and mercy and peace and the end of poverty and. . . well, you name it. What's the use in praying for change in me?
At those times I have a litany of God’s faithfulness that I repeat, like a pocket sermon. Or more like flash cards. I remind myself of the big dreams realized (Wilberforce comes to mind, the end of slavery), and the little prayers that get answered, like finding the book I lost. I remind myself how God saved Paul (big) and me (little). My memory is short and the devil hates remembrance, so I flash the past, remember God's faithfulness. There are even cards for remembering prayers that got answered that I didn't even ask. Like playing Jeopardy, I have the answered prayer, but what was the prayer? God knows. Funny how that happens.
And then I read what Sally Lloyd-Jones says in her childrens’ devotional, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, because I need it simple, need a child-dream, big and believed: “God is making all the sad things come untrue. He is making the end of the world happy. And all the dreams we have ever dreamed for ourselves? They are only shadows of the magnificent dreams God has dreamed for his children.” So, all my dreams are caught up in and find their fulfillment in a dream God already had. How about that? Life is but a dream. . . God had.