Our God-given hopes and dreams can impact the entire direction of our life. The Bible reminds us of the importance of dreams: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). Some of the most courageous women I know are mothers raising their children in fragile neighborhoods. These moms know that dreams can divert their children from drugs, gangs, and prison. Dreams mean survival.
My young friend Dominique was just ten when some gang members befriended him. “I was kind of a mascot,” as he puts it. But gang mascots eventually become gang members, and he was headed for trouble. One day, Dominique discovered an online chess game. He got the hang of it and became good—really good. Before too long, he was “busy” when gang members called. Dominique was way too busy finding his purpose to run with gangs.
By the time he was in high school, Dominique had become the top scholastic chess player in the state of North Carolina. In his college application, Dominique wrote: “By getting closer to the One who allowed me this chance, and continuing with the plan that we dreamed up together when I was a young child, I feel that I will be able to help someone else and make a lasting impact.”
Dominique didn’t attend church growing up. But as a small child he had a sense of God’s destiny and a mysterious awareness of His calling through his childhood dreams of playing chess. And when he heard a clear presentation of the Gospel his first semester in college, the vibrant young man accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.
Dominique recently graduated from college–the first to do so in his family. He plans to pursue a master’s degree. And he continues to play chess. He’s made his way into the realm of international competition. This week, he’s playing against some of the best in the world at a match in London.
One thing is clear. Dominique’s earthly dreams had eternal implications that went far beyond the mastery of chess. A reminder to take seriously the hopes and dreams of those children entrusted to our care. Mother Teresa put it this way: Tread gently around the dreams of a child. You might be treading on the dreams of God.