Updated: Jun 4
"Yes and Amen."
I've had these three words stuck in my head for months.
I think you and I can both agree that we all have dreams and desires. Mine?
I want a God-fearing man to sweep me off of my feet, to build a beautiful and inviting home together, have several children some day, a couple of dogs, bring love wherever we go, and have a refrigerator full of wholefoods that I can make delicious dishes from scratch with. (We'll get cooking some day HA!)
It's really such a beautiful gift we've been given, to have creative minds. To be in the presence of the people we love and acknowledge the good in them so much, that we can envision them in the dreams and hopes of our future, or to celebrate someone else's accomplishment's and apply their zeal and determination to our own inspiration...how neat!
I believe God deeply admires the dreams we think up. But I think there's a point where hopes and dreams come face to face with realities and expectations, that skew our view of God's promises and the plan He has set before us.
I've been learning a lot about this very recently, so bare with me as these words are spoken fresh from my heart and thoughts.
God doesn't always give us what our heart desires. Now hear me out. In fact, it explains in scripture that our hearts are deceitful and what we desire on this side of Heaven won't always be of any benefit to our Heavenly purpose. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable--who can understand it?". When I first read this, I felt very discouraged. For all my life, I've been told from every angle to "follow my heart", why is Jeremiah telling me that my heart is actually totally wrong and there's nothing I can do to fix it? Well there's more to this concept actually. After sitting in a bit of frustration and uncertainty, I dug into what this actually means.
I began to read in the books of Genesis and Isaiah. And by no means am I an expert when it comes to historical context and spot on theology, but these books were written as love letters of hope to us. I truly believe it. I believe that when God spoke these promises, he was thinking of you and I. In the moments when faith just doesn't seem like it makes enough sense, but “yes and Amen”, is all we have to offer, this story serves as a reminder of His unfailing word.
To give you a "Laurel-cliff notes version" of this crazy faith story—basically in the book of Genesis, God makes a promise to the prophet Abraham. A prophet is someone God appoints to act as a messenger of God's loving commands and instruction. God's promise to Abraham was that He would father many nations and lead them to the Promised Land through a son, Isaac, who was born from Sarah...who was around 90 years old when she gave birth! NINETY! WHAT! But hey you go, sister Sarah! Anyways, a lot happens between God and Abraham.
God fulfills His first promise to Abraham in bringing him a son. But then things get confusing. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Huh??? Why would God tell Abraham to MURDER his son when He promised that through this son He would father many nations? But it gets good. Abraham, fully trusts God and acted faithfully with God's command to give up his son. Right before Abraham is about to take a hit at his precious son, God sends an angel from the Heavens and stops Abraham from killing his son. PHEW!
I want faith like Abraham. See, God knew. Abraham didn’t but he said, “yes and Amen”.
God asked Abraham to obey His commands and gave Abraham the choice to follow what He promised, but this required faith.
Abraham didn’t have any sort of contract with God saying that any of Abraham’s father-son dreams with Isaac would come to pass. No, BUT God DID fulfill His promises in the craziest of ways. Through a heavenly encounter that created such a connection between God and Abraham that the voice of God was so clear, Abraham’s heart couldn’t help but align itself with the Creator of ALL that he could ever desire. And while God built upon Abraham’s faith, he directed his path, informed His heart and revealed His goodness to him through and through.
Most times, when God wants a Holy and effective encounter with us, it will require a choice on our behalf—to either follow what we want and believe is “best” or act in faith and wait for Him to come in and exceed our expectations.
Now the descendants of Abraham searched and tried to fulfill this “promised land”. But in their lack of trust and disobedience, God was not where they were searching. In Isaiah we see the nation of Israel completely disregard God. They turn to idols and all kinds of sin for an answer completely constructed by their ideas and expectations of how God would fulfill His word.
Dang. Reading this story, I honestly wish that I didn’t so deeply empathize with the nation of Israel. I wish I could be angry at the text when I read about the outlandish choices God’s people were making, but I can’t help but cringe a little because, me too.
Lately, I feel that it’s been really easy for my mind and heart to slip into false hopes and realities that dig such great roots, that my approach to God is full of expectations and pride. As I’ve sat with these thoughts and pondered on who God says He is, my heart is reminded of the Hope of Grace to come that is mentioned in Isaiah.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Look I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
He is doing something beyond what my eyes can see and my mind can fathom.
Friend, we were created to dream, dance, create, and desire. But with these gifts comes great purpose and intention—that we would do it alongside the One who created these abilities within us.
Our Promised Land is wherever God is. Our Promised Land wasn’t meant to fully understand or know exactly what it will look like. It’s a place where our decisions breed action, our actions breed faith, and our faith breeds intimacy with our Father.
I think of the song Jireh when it says, “if He dresses the lilies with beauty and splendor, how much more will He clothe you?”. If God created the most beautiful flowers of a field, sunsets of the sky, creatures of the earth, and galaxies of the universe, how much awe and splendor does He sit in when He thinks of you and I?
When we think of our Promised Land, let’s think of God’s promises: of love, joy, peace, freedom, and LIFE with Him in complete perfection in Heaven. When we think of our Promised Land, let’s not get wrapped up in our shortcomings or faults, but let’s cling to His perfect and unwavering faithfulness.
I want you to ask yourself:
What is your Promised Land?
Where do you want to go in life?
Why do you want to go there?
Is God going to be there?
THINK BIG + let God in on it!
“Teach me to do what you want, because you are my God. Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
God, would you give me a heart that is teachable. One that is not so set on my own dreams and desires that I am not willing to rest in your goodness. Give me the courage to hold onto my hopes and dreams with open hands so that You will have room to do what You will do. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, who took up the cross so that I would know Your Promised Land of LIFE!
“Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” Philippians 4:8
Father, thank You for creating all the beauty of this world. Thank You for building me up for Your great eternal purpose. Guard my thoughts and mind as I go about my days. Make my thoughts pleasing to You. Fix my gaze on Your understanding. Create something new in me, giving me fresh eyes to see what You would have me see. I trust You Father.
Scripture for encouragement and Devotional Idea: Pick a scripture to go and read the chapter of to get a better idea as to why this was written. We always recommend Enduring Word for commentary!
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
“You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you. So, trust the Lord always, because he is our Rock forever.”
“No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches.”
“Shout to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with joy; come before him with singing.”
A Letter To You
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As always we would love to hear from you any thoughts, stories, or dreams!
MM & Laurel