“You have asthma.”
For most people those words can be frightening as they ponder the sudden need for steroids, inhalers, breathing treatments, and daily medications. But for one teenage boy, those words meant something even more.
They meant death – the death of a dream.
Or maybe even more than a dream. A plan. An intention. A career. A life.
That teenage boy was my husband. That dream was a career in the Air Force. A career that was swept away in a moment.
For many adults who dream such dreams as children, new fulfillment is found in other careers as their passions mature. For Doug, new passions have emerged. He loves to preach. And, he is not complete if he doesn’t have a teaching outlet of some sort. But, every time he seems to begin to finally put aside the old Air Force passion, something crops up to rekindle it. I can’t count how many times in our nearly 12 years of marriage something has come up to rekindle the hope that a career in the military just might be possible after all. And yet, every little glimmer has always ended the same way – with the door still not only firmly closed but heavily bolted.
I confess, I have questioned God many times about this. Why does the hope continue to be rekindled each time we seem to succeed in putting the desire to rest? If God has closed those doors, why keep allowing that sliver of light to pass through, taunting us? I know God loves us. I know He has plans for us. I know He is not a cruel Father. But, sometimes the persistent rekindling of hope seems more like cruelty than love.
It reminds me of the story of Abraham.
Abram and Sarai would have loved to have children. After all, it was a disgrace to be barren. I’m sure Sarai wondered often when Abram would give up on her and take another wife or two – wives who could bear him sons. But, he never did. Even into her old age, he was faithful to the beautiful wife of his youth, only diverging from that upon her insistence, and later after her death.
And then God stepped in. He told Abram he would be the father of a great nation, as numberless as the grains of sand on the seashore or the stars in the sky. But, nothing happened. After such a grand declaration…nothing. How could Abram sire a great nation with no children?
I can imagine that Abram and Sarai did their best in those first years of silence to push the thought from their minds. But then God kept bringing it back up again. When Lot and Abram separated, God reminded Abram of a promise to his descendants. What descendants? After Abram rescued Lot from capture, God reminded him of the promise of an heir. Eleven years after the initial call, after the birth of Ishmael, God again reminded Abram that there would be another child – an heir through Sarai, not through any handmaiden. Thirteen years later when God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah, he was again reminded of the coming heir. Again and again, Abraham tried to push the painful delayed promise away from his heart and mind. Again and again God reminded him.
Finally, 25 years after the initial promise, God did the impossible. He gave 90 year-old Sarah and 100 year-old Abraham a son of their own. The passion and the promise were both fulfilled in one amazing miracle.
Not all of our passions are from the Lord. Not everything we desire is promised to us. But, when a passion that is consistent with the Word of God won’t let go of us, there just might be a reason. It might seem impossible, but God is in the business of the impossible. It might seem crazy, but God’s actions frequently blow the socks off the sane.
Passions that won’t let go are painful. The wait can seem crushing. But if the passion won’t let go of you, then the only thing you can do is decide to not let go of God. He has a plan. It is a plan for your good and His glory. It is a plan to accomplish purposes far beyond your present life. Through the struggle, through the pain, and through the waiting remember Abraham and know…the promise is coming. Just hang on.