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When No One Sees
by Evangeline Weiner Hooie

“Nothing happens unless first we dream.”

—Carl Sandburg, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

for his Biography of Abraham Lincoln

“If you listen to your fears, you will die without knowing

what a great person you might have been.”

—Dr. Robert Schuller

In the beginning, God was the Prevailing Presence—the Imaginative Power— hovering, brooding over the earth, looking to create something. And He still is. The Bible tells us that “The eyes of the Lord are moving to and fro throughout the whole earth that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.” (2 Chron. 16:9 NAS)

You might want to ask, “Is my heart completely His?” If the answer is “yes,” then you are the one God is looking for. God wants to strongly support you. He wants to continue His creation through you. He invites you to be a co-creator with Him to the end that “His kingdom will come” and His “will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.” For this, He told us to pray.

To be an instrument that God can use, you need to recognize the importance of the dream. To be a co-creator with God, His dreams must find a place to lodge in your heart—and they must be fed by your imagination. To understand more about a God-dream, let’s look at the story of one the Bible’s greatest dreamers.

The Dreamer

One night Joseph had a dream and promptly reported the details to his brothers, causing them to hate him even more. “Listen to this dream,” he announced. “We were out in the field tying up bundles of grain. My bundle stood up and then all your bundles gathered around and bowed low before it.”

“So you are going to be our king are you,” his brothers taunted him. And they hated him all the more for his dream and for what he had said. Then Joseph had another dream and told his brothers about it. Listen to this dream Joseph said, “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down before me.”

This time he told his father as well as his brothers; and his father rebuked him. “What do you mean?” his father asked. “Will your mother, your brothers, and I actually come to bow before you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father gave it some thought and wondered what it all meant. (Gen. 27:5-11, NLT)

Maybe you’ve had an experience like Joseph. You have been captivated by a dream. You have shared the dreams God has given you with others, and they have discouraged you. The tragedy is that many people let the discouraging words of others become the graveyard of their dreams. They decide to forget their dreams and reason, “I was full of pride to think that I was that special.”

The Negative Results of Seeking the Approval of Others

Self-exaltation is what we usually think of when we think of pride. However, there is another form of pride that is rooted in the desire for man’s approval. The highest form of pride is the idolatry of self that loves the praises of men more than the praises of God. We participate in this idolatry when we try to make our dreams fit into the very small box of what everyone else does in order to gain the approval of others.

Joseph could have done that. He could have made a confession to the sin of pride, renounced his God given dreams, and he might have continued to live happily in the fellowship of his brothers. But the source of Joseph’s dreams wasn’t a desire for self-exaltation. God was the author of his dreams.

If Joseph had decided to apologize for his dreams and submit to the opinions of men, he may have never made it to Egypt because his brothers may not have thrown him into the pit out of jealousy and sold him as a slave. His desire for his brothers’ approval more than for the fulfillment of the will of God could have kept him out of God’s purpose. God in turn used the jealousy and wrath of Joseph’s brothers to fulfill His intentions.

The Impossible Dream

Before Joseph could see his dream fulfilled, he had to go through a few delays along the way—and so will everyone who follows the Lord. If Joseph had looked only at his circumstances, he would have thought his dream was impossible. But God was using all his circumstances as his training ground.

Although a slave in Potiphar’s house, Joseph was such an excellent worker that Joseph was set over the whole household, where God taught Joseph to serve and to run his master’s affairs. God tested Joseph’s integrity when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. Regardless of his faithful and loyal service, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown in jail. Here, Joseph had favor with all the guards and with the prisoners as he eventually managed and ran the whole prison.

The first place we hear of Joseph interpreting dreams is in jail. No one trained him to do this, but God Himself trained Joseph even in these impossible conditions. He could have become bitter, hardhearted, and believed that God had forsaken him, when the truth was that God was preparing him to manage the entire kingdom of Egypt and setting him up to speak to Pharaoh.

Unknown to Joseph, prison would become his launching pad to catapult him into being second in command in all of Egypt. Never underestimate or be discouraged by the circumstances you are in right now. If you trust in the Lord, He will use your circumstances to prepare you for His purposes. Your circumstances are your opportunity to learn to look to God and see His miraculous power in the face of adversity and impossibility. When Joseph was placed as second in command in Egypt, how could Joseph have ever taken the glory for himself and thought that there was something great in him to earn such a position?

Self Effort – A Work of the Flesh

When delay looks you in the face and mocks your dream, impatience can push you to work in your own strength to bring the vision to pass. Remember the trial of Abraham, who is the father of faith to all those who believe. God took 25 years to fulfill His promise to Abraham and send the promised son. Abraham became discouraged halfway through the trial, took Sarah’s advice to take her maid to produce a child, and tried to help God out. He wound up with Ishmael, called by Paul “a child of the flesh.”

What is the flesh? Oswald Chambers has described the “flesh” as “self-effort of every kind.” And Paul reminds us, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8). Paul told the Galatians that Ishmael represents the child of the flesh and was born “in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise.” But Isaac was born “as God’s own fulfillment of His promise.” (Gal. 4:23 NLT)

God told Abraham, “At the appointed time I will return to you . . . and Sarah will have a son” (Gen. 18:14). As a result of a visitation from God, Isaac was born. God waited to bring Isaac into the picture when it was beyond all human possibility for Sarah to have a child. This way there could be no doubt about who was responsible for this miracle. This resulted in all praise to God.

Here we find the mark of a God-given dream appearing. It will be impossible with man, and possible only with God. If it is possible to fulfill the dream in your own strength, then the dream isn’t from God. Through all your striving and self-effort, you will be able to do it. This does not develop your trust in God because you never stepped out of your own ability and therefore, you have no need to trust Him. You can go ahead and pride yourself in your accomplishment, and take the glory for yourself—all credit goes to your ability.

Not only can self-effort never bring forth the work of the Spirit, you will be totally frustrated if you try to bring forth the works of God’s Spirit in your own human strength. Those involved in the strife of self-effort often become persecutors of those who are bringing forth the true works of God.

Paul reminds us, “Just as Ishmael, the child of ordinary birth, born according to the flesh, despised and persecuted him who was born remarkably according to the promise of God and the working of the Holy Spirit, so it is now.” (Gal.4:29 AMP) It is not by doing things our own way that the dreams of God are fulfilled, but it is by believing that what God has promised, He will bring to pass, as we spend time in His Presence, listen to His instructions, and obey His Spirit.

Entering God’s Rest

The dream of the Promised Land was postponed for 40 years because the Israelites doubted themselves more than they trusted God’s power. Israel’s sins of disobedience and unbelief resulted in self-will and self-effort and kept Israel out of the Promised Land, leaving them to wander in the wilderness. About them God said, “Their hearts always turn away from Me. They refuse to do what I tell them . . . They will never enter My place of rest.” (Heb. 3:10-11 NLT)

The New Testament writer reminds us, “God’s promise of entering His place of rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to get there. For this Good News—that God has prepared a place of rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t believe what God told them. For only we who believe can enter His place of rest.” (Heb. 4:1-3 NLT)

We enter into His rest when the power is “of God and not of ourselves. ” (2 Cor. 4:7b NAS). And believing is not a hard thing. It is as simple as receiving God’s Word as truth and making up your mind that God doesn’t lie. Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29)

— If we give up our desire for the praises of men and live for God’s glory alone
— if we give up all our attempts to produce the promises of God and let our thoughts rest in God’s promises and His power to fulfill His own word
— if we like Abraham and Joseph trust and believe in God,
— Then, we will begin to realize our God-given dreams.

Paul reminds us, “Abraham believed God, so God declared him righteousness. The real children of Abraham are all those who put their faith in God.” (Gal. 3:6-7 NAS) As we abandon unbelief and self-will, meditate in His Word day and night, listen to the still small voice of His Spirit, then God will fill our minds with His highest thoughts and bring us into His highest purposes. Rest in His love—rely on Him.

David’s advice comes down to us through the ages, “Trust in the Lord and do good…delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Ps. 37:3-5 NAS)

If you benefited from this post from Evangeline then you will enjoy her faith building book The Calling of a Generation. Without God, we can do nothing, and without people, God will do nothing. The future will be what we make it, and what we make it will depend on our response to His call. This book will inspire you to make a full surrender of your life to God’s call. It will build your faith with biblical teaching along with stories of young people who said “yes” to what the Lord was calling them to do. Be inspired to let God use you!

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