by Emily Conrad
Years ago, I learned a fact from a Stephen King novel that has proven itself true not only in the physical word, but also in my emotional and spiritual life.
The fact is, the longer a rope or line is, the more likely it is to break under stress.
This theory helps explain why, the longer we wait for something, the harder maintaining hope and faith becomes.
In Part 1 of this post, I made my case for why I believe it’s not the wait itself that causes the problem, but rather, other ropes we attach to our longings and dreams—ropes of hope and faith. I shared what my rope of hope is made of and what you can do if your hope is embedded with similar fibers. You can read that here.
But our dreams aren’t only suspended by hope. They’re also suspended from faith in the God who dares to make impossible promises, in the God who calls us to work for His glory in our earthly lives.
Though our main hope must be in heaven, He also works and fulfills promises on Earth.
The Line of Faith
If the rope of hope is made of expectations, the line of faith is composed of truth.
As believers, we know God loves us. This is truth, and it’s deeply embedded in our faith, which tends to be looped around our dreams and longings.
This is good, but as time passes, that line of faith, braided with truth, begins to strain with the weight of doubts.
Maybe I heard God wrong. I’m a failure. I’m miles off course. I’m wasting time hoping for and working toward this. And… does God really love me?
What’s gone wrong when our rope of faith seems to be fraying like this?
Could it be that lies have begun to supplant truth?
Yes. Because God isn’t the only one with a voice, nor is He the only one interested in that dream we’ve got hanging at the end of the line.
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8, NET
We have an enemy who strives to render us ineffective, and this enemy is an expert liar. Our accuser loves to lob lies at us, telling us we’re wrong, we’re failures, we’ve misunderstood God, we’ve wasted time and talent, we’re unloveable and unloved.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44, NET
With lies like these, he breaks one little fiber of truth at a time until our faith is ready to come undone.
So what’s a believer to do?
As we’ve established, we cannot shorten the wait; the length of time we must wait for things God has promised us is entirely out of our control.
But we can recognize that we have an enemy whose lies are convincing.
We don’t have to believe every thought that comes into our minds. We shouldn’t believe them until we’ve examined them in light of God’s Word.
But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. 1 Thes. 5:21, NET
The Lord may speak up to change our direction and send us to a figurative (or literal) land we’d never choose ourselves. But God doesn’t change. Truth is still truth.
The Bible teaches us not to worry, to love one another, to trust God’s timing. By spending time in the Bible, studying truth, we’ll be better able to discern that from the lies of our spiritual enemies.
Fearing the Lord is the beginning of discernment, Proverbs 1:7, NET
But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil. Heb. 5:14, NET
The areas where our dreams are susceptible to lies varies as much from one of us to another as our dreams and longings vary, but here’s an example from my life.
Writing is currently my only job. The longer I go without making more than I spend on this pursuit, the more frequently I find myself wondering if I shouldn’t be contributing to the household finances instead of chasing a dream. Then, when our savings account drops below a certain dollar amount, I start to worry.
What if our furnace or roof fail? What will happen to our savings then? Or, they could both fail at once, and our savings would be obliterated!
Obviously, I need a paying job. I’m wasting time writing. I ought to be contributing. I have nothing to show for my effort.
But the thing I’m worried about hasn’t even happened. Every single statement in that last little paragraph flies in the face of reality—we live comfortably, and God has used my writing. But those lies lead me into fear and self-sufficiency when I could be trusting in God.
They weaken the line of my faith.
Meanwhile, Jesus tells us to let tomorrow worry about itself. (Matt. 6:34)
Oh. Well. There’s an idea.
In the light of truth, logic starts to resurface. I see different ways we could make ends meet, in the unlikely unfortunate scenarios. I find myself much more grateful for what I have already and less desperate for a faster solution by way of my writing dream.
When worry and doubt tempt us to change our course and cut a dream loose prematurely, the stretching wait isn’t the problem. The problem is how far we’ve stretched the line of communication between us and our Father.
The good news is that, unlike the wait itself, we can always shorten the line between ourselves and God.
It takes effort and time, like building any relationship, but if the ultimate dream-come-true is eternity with Him in heaven, our relationship with Jesus is an essential and rewarding investment.
When discouragement and lies pile onto the end of an already stressed line in our lives, let’s shorten the line between us and our Father. When we are weak, He is strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10) He will sustain what we cannot.
Some Truths to Take Along, Whatever Your Dream and However Long Your Wait…
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11, NET
How we love this promise, but often fail to acknowledge that in the preceding verse, God says His people will have to endure 70 years of Babylonian rule. Talk about a long wait! No wonder God voiced this beautiful truth to help carry them through.
Here’s another beloved promise:
But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9, NET
We’re promised things we haven’t seen yet. As followers of Christ, we’re all waiting, some of us for earthly milestones, all of us for the promise of heaven. We might endure, waiting, far longer than we’d ever choose, but we can trust our good Father.
Jesus knows how much stress and stretch the line can handle. He knows the true purpose He’s called us to. He knows it’s much more than what we’re dreaming of for ourselves.
The rope attached to our dreams and goals can stretch a long, long way. Much farther than we’d ever choose. But Jesus is the sustainer of all things. (Col. 1:17)
When we yield to Him, our hope and faith is strengthened for the distance.
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