Press hard against the Tent Wall of Scripture and hear God’s voice today saying that His ultimate plan is for fruitfulness and joy.

Cherishing Hope for the Dream that Sticks Around

Most of the dreams that carried me forward and burned brightly in young adulthood have lost their luster years ago.

My twenty-something self would be mortified at the woman I’ve become.
I can imagine her indignant voice, hand on hip, eyes wide:

“What? No gym membership?”

“How many kids did you say you have?”

“What is this shipwreck you’ve made of our resume?”

But then, for most of us, there is a dream or two that sticks around, still cherished and yet unfulfilled.  It reminds us of its presence with a subtle pressure, like a pebble in the shoe.

Uprooting Bitterness and Planting Hope

Dreams with a long shelf life can light a spark in middle age, or . . . they can become the seedbed for bitterness and regret.  Sarah (Old Testament wife of Abraham and matriarch of the Hebrews 11 “faith chapter”) knew well the taste of disappointment and frustrated dreams. Over and over she heard about The Promise, a major topic of Abraham’s heart-to-heart talks with God:

“The Father of a Great Nation,” God had promised.
“Children as innumerable as the stars in the sky,”

God had spoken, and Sarah had worked hard to believe.

“If Abraham’s the father, that makes me the mother. Doesn’t it? Couldn’t we get started with just one . . .?”

As the years wore down Sarah’s hope and her joints, she may have found remedies to ease arthritis, but nothing took the edge off yearning.

Then one day when Sarah was 90 years old, the promise came once again. Picture an arid landscape. Abraham, now a very old man, is resting in the doorway of his tent to escape the heat of the day. Three men approach, and the gracious old gent hops up to show lavish hospitality, Middle-Eastern style. (Genesis 18:1-16)

Is it possible that Abraham and Sarah recognized one of their visitors as the angel of the Lord? This pre-incarnate embodiment of God the Son carried news that made Sarah’s heart skip a beat as she listened through the tent wall:

“Abraham, when I see you again, your wife, Sarah, will have a son.”

Twenty-four years had passed since this promise was first spoken out loud, and for the first time, Sarah was hearing that her own DNA was also important to its fulfillment. And suddenly there was a time frame on the table! This was all too much for her heart to absorb, and the text goes on to record Sarah’s response there, in the privacy of her tent:  She laughed.

Believing Over the Long Haul

Dreams with a long shelf life can light a spark in middle age, or . . . they can become the seedbed for bitterness and regret. Sarah (Old Testament wife of Abraham and matriarch of the Hebrews 11 “faith chapter”) knew well the taste of disappointment and frustrated dreams.

And may I ask, tenderly:

 How long have you been waiting for your dream to materialize? 

While others have moved forward into solid futures that look crazily like the one you’ve imagined, you feel as if, somehow, you’ve been left standing still.

Tired, faith stretched thin, the idea that anything good could happen, that blessing could wash up on your personal shore . . .?
Pfffff . . . Snort! Do you feel a cynical chuckle coming on?

Time bound and short-sighted, we need a sinewy faith to stave off bitterness when hope has been bleeding out for years.

Together, let’s join Sarah in pressing an ear against the tent wall to hear God’s words of choosing and commission

 Let’s join Sarah in pressing an ear against the tent wall to hear God’s words of choosing and commission. Your DNA is needed in this family of God. Press hard against the Tent Wall of Scripture and hear God’s voice today saying that His ultimate plan is for fruitfulness and joy. Soak in the record of prophecy fulfilled, the promises kept, the hand of God at work in stunning intervention, and then read in Psalm 126 about the laughter of dreams fulfilled that follows the tears of sowing seed and long waiting.

Can we trust the God who filled Sarah’s empty womb to fill our empty hearts? He longs to come to your tent, to lock eyes, and to share a meal with you. Listen carefully, and let the smile spread slowly over your incredulous face, for the truth is that He brings good news — and it’s for you.


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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This post was first shared at God-sized Dreams .

75 thoughts on “Cherishing Hope for the Dream that Sticks Around”

  1. THIS IS WONDERFUL. Lots of favorite lines but especially, “…but nothing to take the edge off of her yearning.” Yes, Lord. SO good, MM. -Susie, INTJ; 5w6


  2. How encouraged I am by this! And Michele, if authors are awarded a Best Sentence Award, certainly THIS will be awarded Grand Champion:

    “Can we trust the God who filled Sarah’s empty womb to fill our empty hearts?”

    I pray for any yearning reader, including myself, to enjoy bright hope for today! But should hope be deferred today, to “en-joy” a surrendered cherished hope for tomorrow!

    Thank you for this wisdom……….


  3. I love this reflection, Michele. It fits well with many of my musings recently as well as a post recently where I encouraged folks to find a new dream. Sometimes pieces of the dream we had at 20 get rearranged and then fulfilled much later in our life but differently than we had thought or planned. That’s the gift of a Father who loves us and has even better dreams for us and the design He has than we could have dreamed at any age. It can be easy to forget the stories like Sarah, Joseph, and so many others whose lives didn’t look like they were on their way to their dream, but then God shows up and gives them a bigger dream or fulfills it differently. How we need to trust Him with our dreams!!!


    1. Yes, Joseph is another great example of a dreamer who held onto faith even as his dreams unraveled and were put on hold. I think it takes tremendous faith to dare to dream after a “certain age” has passed. It’s far easier (and safer) to just go into auto pilot mode and be carried along with the current of life.


  4. How beautiful is this. It’s funny because I was just listening to an audiobook on suffering & they talked a lot on Sarah – so I feel like God is just using her as an example to me right now when she just keeps coming up in things I’m crossing. 🙂
    Thanks for linking up with me this week! Always love your beautiful writing!


    1. Thank you!
      And it is interesting that you are bumping into Sarah on the regular. She’s definitely a powerful OT character, and we can learn a lot–both positive and negative–from her example.


  5. I’m currently trying to differentiate the dreams God is prolonging versus the dreams I’m prolonging. A friend of mine prolonged one for fifteen years, thinking that its longevity was a sign from God that it would be fulfilled. Nope. Just randomly crashed and burned one day. Turns out my friend just has “trouble letting go”. Bit of an understatement. And I don’t want to end up in that situation.

    But it takes an awful lot of energy to replace our dreams’ mental footprint with God.


    1. Wow, Brandon, this is a really important distinction. And it makes me curious as to what gave Abraham his unwavering confidence that he was hearing the voice of God. Of course, he did have the additional encouragement of some face to face encounters. . .

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, Michele, I loved this! We were both thinking about dreams this week. Of course, not all of our earthly dreams can be fulfilled, but God will still fill our hearts. Beautiful post!


  7. I’ve often heard Sarah and Abraham “scolded” for their impatience with God’s timing, yet how many of us would wait so long without some times of doubt? (Or whining, as would probably be my reaction.) And some, as Hebrews 11 tells, kept believing even though they didn’t receive what they were promised in their lifetimes. Yet that chapter holds them all of as prime examples of faith.

    Sometimes I think a long time between promise and fulfillment probably helps refine our faith. At the very least it reminds us that the timetable is God’s. As Brandon said above, with one dream of mine, I keep having to continually give it back to God and ask Him to help me know if it’s from Him or if it’s just my desire.

    I love this: “Press hard against the Tent Wall of Scripture and hear God’s voice today.” However long we’re waiting, we sorely need to keep hearing His voice.


    1. I can testify that waiting is a refining process, but I don’t do it very well, even yet. Your thoughts here point to one reason: I’m not listening well enough.
      So much to learn . . .


  8. What a timely reminder! Waiting on the Lord’s timing is HARD when we dream of something or long for it. I have to say, I’m pretty sure my 20-year-old self would be disappointed, too. Life did not turn out the way I expected. It turned out even better.


  9. I smiled at the beginning of this post, Michele, largely because I’m only 10 years out of my 20-something phase, and I can relate! I so greatly admire how you’ve followed God’s plans for your life and how you magnify him through your writing and Bible teaching! You inspire me to embrace each season and serve him faithfully wherever he has me! Thanks for being a blessing!


  10. Me–I’ve never been athletic at all! But presently I have a gym membership. It didn’t feel like me and it was never a dream, but I am enjoying it. Yet, I am waiting for dreams to happen. Sometimes I’d rather give up than think they will come about “at my age.”


  11. So wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing such moving and timely thoughts. I always struggle with discerning the dreams I have for myself and the dreams God has for me. Love your words. Xo


  12. Such wonderful encouragement, Michele, and so well-written. Whether an old dream of mine is fulfilled or not, I can honestly say I’ve learned to be content. (The lesson did take awhile to sink in!) My joy is complete, and if God’s ultimate plan of fruitfulness from my life happens in ways I wasn’t counting on, that’s okay!


    1. It’s an act of pure trust, isn’t it, when we say to God, “Your way is much better than the way I had planned.” It took me a while to get there, too. We’re all under construction!


    1. I think you are right, Julie. We’re tempted to give up on dreams from our younger days; we’re paving the way toward new goals and ambitions. There’s so much need for guidance and grace!


  13. My eyes filled with tears as I read this post. Sarah’s part in His story has always been special to me, something God used to speak to me as a young wife and mama. I needed this reminder today. Thank you!


  14. Such an inspiring post, Michele! And one that I really needed to hear! I currently am waiting on something very specific from God. I’ve leaned into that tent wall to hear God’s promise and even laughed a time or two in doubt when things didn’t go as I had envisioned or hoped. I’m learning to wait well though and know that God is up to His best work when I wait and learn to trust Him more. Hugs to you, my friend! I’ll be pinning!


  15. “Your DNA is needed in this family of God.”

    This was such a powerful statement to me. Remembering that we are needed is so important, yet I am so quick to overlook it.


  16. Michele, what a lovely post, my friend. I am going to read Psalm 126 next! This was so timely for me as I have felt a bit discouraged lately with a dream that I have on the shelf! I laughed about how your 20-something self would be horrified to see the woman you are now. Sometimes I chuckle over the fact that “Oh wait, I’ve become my mother!!!!”


    1. Sounds like a good line for a T-shirt, Betsy!
      And you’re gonna find a blessing in Psalm 126. I never get enough of that look back over their shoulder at captivity and the rejoicing that comes after a long season of sowing and waiting. . .


  17. Yes, Michele, my younger self would be terribly mortified. Thank you for this inspiring post that refreshes my hope in a God who can dream for me more than I ever can. Beautifully written as always!


  18. Who needs a gym membership when you have a 19-year-old treadmill in your laundry room? 🙂 Seriously, Michele, I love your tender questions and gentle reminder of God’s trustworthiness and perfect plans for us.


  19. Michele!! This is absolutely heart moving. It resonates, it encourages and it breathes hope! Thank you for reminding me that no matter what my lot looks like right now, there is always hope for God to fulfill certain heart dreams 🙂 #instaencouragers linkup


    1. You are in the thick of parenting and homeschooling, and I remember being pretty overwhelmed myself in that season. Sometimes our greatest dream is to pour ourselves out for others in a way that is right and good.


  20. this is a wonderful reflections and goes well with my current feelings. Thank you for being part of #ABloggingGoodTime link up party!


  21. Such a wonderful post and so timely message! Psalm 126 is one of my favourite psalms. I return very often to these precious words, especially when I feel weary in waiting. Yes, we should let God ignite again the fire of our dreams, fully submitting them to Him – all the details, the timing, the way and everything else.


  22. Young me would have a whole lot to say to adult me – the first wondering why I restrict myself to so little Taco Bell compared to two decades ago. Young me doesn’t understand aging metabolism… #DreamTeam


  23. I remember my dreams in my teens and none of them came true! I’m happy with how my life has turned out. I have dreams now about our forever home but not for me personally or any preconceptions about the childrem. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging


  24. I still have a dream or two lingering from my youth. It’s good to let go of dreams that no longer serve you but also, in the same measure it’s good to make some happen at a time when you think it may be too late but it may just be the right time. #AnythingGoes


  25. I’ve looked to Sarah in the past to see her laughing, to see her take things into her own hands, to let her emotions take over and treat Hagar atrociously, etc. but it takes looking inward to see that I have, too, on occasion been guilty of scoffing.


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