Some of your personal hopes and dreams may be big ones. Enormous, in fact. A baby. A spouse. The healing of a life threatening disease. God often says a quick “yes” to our prayers. But sometimes, He says “wait.” Perhaps we have some growing to do before the answer comes.
The reality of life on earth is that we are always waiting for something. Always hoping. Always dreaming. The challenge is to keep our hope alive in the middle of circumstances we don’t like so much.
We can learn to wait for our answers with joyful expectation. What we don’t want to do is give up. Accept the status quo. Lower our expectations, or worse, find ways to numb out. Too much social media, shopping, work, wine. There are plenty of pain killers out there. Problem is, they often kill our hopes, too.
Here are a few practical ways to kindle your fires of hope—even in the middle of a storm:
- First take care of your house–your physical house, that is. You can’t control when your dream comes true, but you can take steps to clean up your act. Be sure to eat well and get enough exercise. Get rid of known sin. Bad habits. Be ruthless. Hunt them down. Hebrews 12:1 challenges us to “throw off whatever hinders and the sin that so easily besets…and run our race with perseverance.”
- Take care of your actual house—your home. While you are waiting is a great time to declutter your surroundings. It can be healing to clear out what you don’t need. Give it away. Simplify. Create structure. Order. Peace.
- Explore and develop your spiritual gifts. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). You’ll find your life as you give it away.
- Rest more. Go to the Lord often. Soak in the promises of His Word. “Come to me you who are heavy laden,” said Jesus, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). It takes energy to fight the fight of faith. To hold onto your hope while you wait for your dream.
- Don’t travel alone. Find your teammates. God gives you endurance and encouragement through His Word to help you keep hope alive (Hebrews 15:4-6). He also gives us unity in spirit. Fellow believers. Prayer partners. The body of Christ.