Has God ever placed a dream in your heart that right now seems laughable? Maybe you’re looking at your current circumstances and are overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness and disbelief. I’ve been there. In those times, it’s hard to look at anything other than the problem. But what if there’s another place we should look? What if we can hold fast to dreams—even when they seem impossible?
When we feel like our dreams are hopeless, we have to start looking away from ourselves and instead look to God (Psalm 121:1-2). When we shift our focus to Him, it’s a lot easier to hold fast to the dreams He’s given us. But how do we do that? How do we rely on Him when it seems like it’s time to just give up?
Let’s look at how to hold fast to dreams even in the hardest situations:
- How do you hold fast to your dreams even when it seems impossible?
- How do you hold fast to your dreams even when you’re unsure?
- How do you hold fast to your dreams even when your situation is overwhelming you?
Hold fast to dreams even when it seems impossible.
If anyone can relate to having an impossible dream, it’s Abraham. Just take a look at his story in Genesis chapters 12-18. God told Abraham that He was going to be the father of many nations. When God first revealed this plan and promise, Abraham was 75 years old, and his wife Sarah was 65 and unable to have children.
To Abraham and Sarah, this dream of having their own child and being the beginning of a large family line seemed unattainable. Maybe you feel like the dream and promise God spoke to you is crazy impossible. Don’t give up on it just yet. Here are three pieces of wisdom we can take from Abraham’s story.
1. Listen to what God is telling you. God reminded Abraham of this promise at least four times. Sometimes we need to quiet every voice but God’s. God is the one who spoke this dream into your life. You can’t let doubts or worries become louder than God’s voice. And don’t be afraid to ask God for reassurance and to remind you one more time. He loves hearing from us, and He loves when we listen.
2. Bring Him your worries. God loves it when you come to Him with your worries and problems. Abraham didn’t hold back from telling God about his doubts and fears. God didn’t get mad at Abraham or ignore his worries; He reassured him. God reminded Abraham that he should focus on God and His infinite power rather than on his own limitations. Immediately after this encouragement, Abraham believed the Lord. Holding fast to a seemingly impossible dream is a lot easier when you let go of your worries and give them to God.
3. Stop laughing and start believing. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The way we act is our answer to this question. When God told Abraham that Sarah would give him a son, Abraham literally laughed. Sarah laughed too. By this point, he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, so reason and logic would say that having a baby was impossible. But what is impossible for us is completely possible for God.
Sometimes having bold faith can look and seem a little crazy, but it’s worth it. Think of how Noah looked building an ark (Genesis 6:7-22). Remember David? He probably looked a little nutty going to fight a giant with some stones (1 Samuel 17:32-40). And people certainly looked at the disciples sideways when they started proclaiming that Jesus was alive and had risen from the dead (Acts 1:1-3). Sometimes you have to stop laughing at what seems illogical and start believing in a God who says all things are possible!
Hold fast to dreams even when you’re unsure.
Have you ever asked God, “Do You know how underqualified I am for this?” Maybe you’ve wondered if God really wants you—of all people—to do it. Or you’re wondering how to get from Step A to Step E— or if we’re honest—Step B. That’s basically Esther’s story. You can read all the details in the Book of Esther.
King Xerxes needed a queen after he banished his previous wife. After being taken into the king’s harem, Esther became queen. But she kept her true identity hidden; Esther was a Jew and she was the cousin of Mordecai, a “rebel” who refused to bow to Haman. Haman was the king’s right-hand man. And because of his beef with Mordecai, he issued a decree with the king’s blessing that in the following year, Jews had to be slaughtered, and as a “bonus,” the Jews’ property would be given to whoever killed them. Esther was somehow tasked with saving her people. That’s heavy.
Is this what Esther always dreamed about? Was this the purpose she felt called to and had planned for? All we know is that God called her. God put Esther in the palace and in her position for a purpose. Sometimes God has a dream, vision, and purpose for us that we’re unsure about. We question where we are going and what God is doing, and we let our feelings of uncertainty and discomfort erase the truths we know about God.
Here’s what we can learn from Esther’s story about holding fast to our dreams and God’s promises.
1. Trust God even when you only know the first step. Even though we know God has the whole vision and plan and is working behind the scenes, we want a backstage, all-access pass before we commit to taking any action. Esther’s first step was going before the king and explaining the problem. But she was hesitant about her first step. She knew that you had to be invited to see the king; you didn’t just show up. Then, as we later learn, the king’s decree was irrevocable once written and sealed with his ring. So Esther also probably wondered how her bringing the decree to his attention would even help. The thing is, it’s not our job to wonder; it’s our job to trust and obey. We don’t need to get caught up in the details, because God is in control of the details.
2. Walk confidently, knowing God chose you. Sometimes, we look at the dream and the only thing that seems out of place is us. We feel like we’re not the person for the job, but as the saying goes, God qualifies and equips the called (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). When Esther questioned her role, Mordecai said a powerful thing:
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NLT
God is not a God of coincidence. He gave you this dream, put you in this situation, and called you on purpose at the perfect time. He knows everything about you—your qualifications, your skills, your past, your every thought, and He still wants you to be the one to bring the dream to life. And if that doesn’t add a bit of swagger to your walk, then just remember God’s “got you” (Romans 8:31)! He is walking with and before you.
3. Know the battle is already won. We have the victory (Romans 8:37). We don’t know the endgame for all of our dreams, or we may think the endgame is failure. We’re unsure of our outcomes. The business God told you to run seems like it’s heading to bankruptcy; the college degree God led you to get seems like it won’t happen; the dream seems like a nightmare. But guess what? March 7, the day that the Jews’ destruction seemed to be set became not only a day of victory, but also a day of celebration. So don’t allow self-doubt to deter you from pursuing your dreams. Trust God and ask Him to bring it to fruition.
Hold fast to dreams even when your situation is overwhelming you.
Is where you are today overshadowing where God promised you’d be tomorrow? Do your dreams feel far and unreachable? Maybe you have a vision for tomorrow, but you’re drowning in the demands of today. You’re not alone; I’ve been there. Joseph would identify, too (check out his amazing story in Genesis chapters 37-41). God gave Joseph a literal dream and basically told Joseph that his brothers, family, and everyone would one day bow to him—but it sure didn’t happen right away.
Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers, and that’s when his story seemingly took a turn for the worse. See, his brothers were already jealous of Joseph because of his relationship with their father, Jacob. Then, after sharing his dreams, Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him and then ultimately sold him into slavery. Joseph could have let his situation overwhelm him and lost sight of his dream, but he didn’t. He held fast even in the midst of all the crazy. Here’s what we can learn from him.
1. Look for God in your current situation. You may think you’re in the fire alone, but just take a minute, close your eyes, and feel God’s presence. When we look for God, we’ll see Him right beside us. He is never far from us. Looking at Joseph’s story, God was with him literally every step of the way. The phrase “the Lord was with Joseph” is seen at every stage of Joseph’s journey. When he was Potiphar’s slave and when he was later imprisoned, the only constant was God’s continual presence. No matter how Joseph’s circumstance and environment changed, God was with him. Just as God was with Joseph, He is with you.
2. Recognize God’s power. We may feel powerless, but God is always there to be our strength. Joseph relied on and recognized God’s power. Joseph was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and while he felt it was beyond his abilities to see the dream’s meaning, Joseph knew God could interpret the dreams. God’s omnipotence always trumps our feelings of powerlessness.
3. Be at peace with your limited perspective. When God told Joseph that he would be someone people bowed down to, I bet he never thought to get there he would be a slave and a prisoner. In both situations, Joseph easily could have become anxious and had doubts about his dream coming to fruition. The path that God is leading you down may not make sense to you right now, but the curveballs that seem like demotions may be leading to your biggest promotion.
When Joseph became a slave, he served Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. When Potiphar threw him in jail, he was thrown in with the king’s prisoners. One of the king’s prisoners was the cup-bearer, and Joseph interpreted the cup-bearer’s dream which led to him telling Pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams led to the fruition of Joseph’s dream.
None of this was just some “co-inky-dink.” God knew what He was doing. He knew that Joseph needed to be a slave and a prisoner. What doesn’t add up to us makes perfect sense to God. We’re not omnipotent or omniscient—but our lives are in the hands of the omnipotent and omniscient One.
Your current situation, fears, and challenges may be overwhelming you, but God is bigger than all of that. God is good, and He is working for your good (Romans 8:28). When it’s hard to hold fast to our dreams, remember that God always fulfills His promises, and He gave us our dreams and visions for a reason. Abraham and Sarah had a child and are the parents of a great nation. Esther did save her people. Joseph did see everyone kneel before him and ran a kingdom. So hold fast to the dreams God has put in your heart; you won’t be the exception.