Dare to Dream
Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Then he said, “At this season next year you will embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.” 2 Kings 4:16 (NASB)
Is it easy for you to dream?
I’m not talking about the hit your pillow at night kind of dreams. I mean the dreams born from the desires of your heart. The ones that cause your heart to beat just a little bit faster when you envision them coming true.
Or do you find it scary to dream these types of dreams?
Maybe you’re afraid you won’t be able to handle the disappointment if your dream doesn’t come to fruition.
Or ... perhaps it’s a fear of losing the dream once you’ve had the opportunity to embrace it.
Or, if you’re anything like me, you dabble in both, allowing yourself to dream a little but then pulling back the reins before you go too far to experience devastation.
I think this is where the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings 4 found herself, “No, my lord, O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.” Can’t you hear it in her voice? Her question did not come from a place of unbelief, but rather a place of desperate, hopeful fear. Fear of allowing herself, once again, to embrace the possibility of her heart’s desire being answered.
The Bible tells us she is a “prominent” woman. She most likely possessed every material desire she could ever want or need, so what desire of her heart was left unanswered? That is what the prophet Elisha wanted to know.
“What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Truly she has no son and her husband is old.” 2 Kings 4:14
She has no son, and she feels the pressure of time. And then someone the Shunammite woman acknowledges as a “holy man of God” (2 Kings 4:9) tells her, “At this season next year you will embrace a son.” (2 Kings 4:16) My translation of her response sounds something like this: Please don’t toy with me. Don’t let me dream of this unless you truly mean it because my heart cannot take another disappointment.
Elisha wasn’t toying with her. The Shunammite woman “conceived and bore a son at that season the next year, as Elisha had said to her.” (2 Kings 4:17) How she must have rejoiced! However, I can’t help but wonder if she ever allowed sneaking doubts to enter her mind. Whether she worried herself to sleep wondering if this gift she had desired in her heart for so long would be taken away.
I guess I ask this because I've gone there on quite a few occasions in my own life.
When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father to the reapers. He said to his father, “My head, my head.” And he said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her lap until noon, and then died. 2 Kings 4:18-20
The desires of her heart had been deferred ... and embraced ... and lost.
When the Shunammite woman finds Elisha, she catches hold of his feet and Elisha knows her “soul is troubled within her.” (2 Kings 4:27) Her response to the death of her son is dripping with heartache.
Then she said, “Did I ask for a son from my lord? Did I not say, “Do not deceive me?” 2 Kings 4:28
In other words: Didn’t I tell you not to toy with me? Didn’t I tell you my heart could not handle it? It was better when I did not dream at all than to have this dream stripped from me after embracing it.
The Shunammite woman’s story does not end there. Miraculously, the boy was raised from the dead and she was able to embrace her heart’s desire once again.
But not everyone we read about in the Bible experienced miracles of that proportion and most of us will not either.
So, how do we keep dreaming, and hoping, and not allow ourselves to steal away when we suffer deep heart losses?
I've had a hard time allowing myself to dream. But, this morning I sit at my kitchen table looking out these huge picture windows as the silhouette of the mountains are highlighted by the soft yellow glow of another breathtaking sunrise. I can feel God inviting me to trust Him with my heart and wooing me to dream with Him once again.
It’s not easy. And it’s still scary.
To dream is not a guaranteed promise of it coming true. Think of Moses and the Promised Land.
To dream also means to accept there may be loss as we read with the Shunammite woman. And what about Jesus’ disciples? I cannot even perceive the magnitude of lost dreams they experienced with the death of their Messiah.
Dreaming is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and the willingness to believe God has dreams for us that may not line up with our own. We must trust He knows better and therefore has better dreams for us as well.
I have a 2018 Dream Guide and a Writing Goals and Dreams Questionnaire sitting on my desk. I don’t know if I will ever fill those out, but I think I will let up on the reins a little and dare to dream some crazy God-sized dreams - even if I do it scared.
How about you?