- Pete Wilson
“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’” Genesis 28:16 God has always used dreamers to do the really big stuff. Take Jacob, in the Old Testament, for example. God first revealed himself to Jacob in a dream of angels going up and down a ladder to heaven. And you have to understand that at that time, Jacob was on the run from his older brother, Esau, whom he had just swindled out of his rightful inheritance as oldest son. Things were pretty hot at home, so Jacob’s mother had sent her favorite son to her brother’s house in Harran until Esau’s rage cooled down. The Bible records what Jacob thought about the dream: When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven. . . .” Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Genesis 28:16–22) Indeed, God had big plans for Jacob, despite what his angry older brother thought. Jacob would go on to become the father of twelve sons—who would in turn become the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. And—spoiler alert—he and Esau were eventually reconciled. For a New Testament example, take a look at the apostle Paul. Throughout his career as a missionary, Paul received guidance, warning, and encouragement from his dreams. On one occasion, he was even permitted a peek into heaven itself (2 Corinthians 12:2–4). And trust me, if anyone could have used a glance past the pearly gates, it would be Paul. After all, this is the same guy who was falsely accused, beaten, shipwrecked, whipped, imprisoned—even bitten by a snake! The point is, there is overwhelming evidence that pursuing a God-given dream—whatever the dream may be—is guaranteed to bring you up against opposition. That opposition can come from many sources: naysayers and critics, well-meaning friends and family members, negative circumstances, and, most of all, from the fear in your own mind. When we start facing disappointments, setbacks, bad news, or what have you, one of our first reactions is usually to say to ourselves something like this: Hey, I thought I was doing God’s will! What’s the deal with all these trials and tribulations? God, how about a little support here? Whaddya say? Our confidence in pursuing our passion is all too often overwhelmed by a riptide of fear and doubt. Let me share this truth with you: the bigger the dream, the bigger the fight you’ll face. In fact, the people throughout history who have been the most directly in the center of God’s will for their lives are the same people who have gone through the toughest trials. So, it seems we can safely conclude that if we are expecting the universe to lavish approval on us for following our dreams, we are destined to disillusionment. Chasing a dream is no job for an approval junkie. The dreams in your heart are no accident; they were put there by God. Fight fear and take one step (even if it’s a small one) closer to them today.