Little by Little

15 Nov

Are you yearning for the future, eager for a dream to become reality? Perhaps you’re single and longing for a soul mate. Do you have a great idea for a new business, but can’t seem to scrape together enough money or investors to make it happen? Would you like to change careers but can’t afford the schooling required? What aspiration have you discarded as hopeless?

When my ex-husband left, I taught at a Christian school that paid poverty level salaries. I changed to public school to feed my kids, but the great desire of my heart was to become a psychotherapist. I wanted to help others as my counselor helped me. However, there was no master’s level course in counseling at the local university. I couldn’t imagine moving my hurt and confused children away from family and friends, so I gave up my dream. Disappointment piled on top of an already full load of grief and rejection.

Eleven years later, I took my first class toward getting my degree and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. It was easy to spot fellow students who needed to work on their own stuff before they considered tackling other people’s problems. I saw myself in them as I had been eleven years earlier, with many issues to work through and much growing to do. I simply hadn’t been ready when God first planted that dream in my heart. God’s route for me was much like God’s message to Israel concerning the Promised Land.

“I will not drive [your enemies] out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land” (Exodus 23:29–30 ESV).

God know our capabilities, our baggage, and future obstacles. His timing is flawless and we can trust Him with our dreams and disappointments. Little by little, He prepares us to possess His best, but most of us aren’t crazy about “little by little.” We think we can handle our big dream now. That’s why I want to explore the context of an especially popular and encouraging verse—Jeremiah 29:11.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (NRSV).

I base my life on God’s goodness and the hope He offers in Jesus Christ. I’m absolutely sure God’s plans for our lives are best and we should cooperate and collaborate with the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish the good works He has for us (Ephesians 2:10). However, just like Israel, our choices affect our future.

Israel’s tribe of Judah wound up in Babylonian captivity because they chose to serve other gods and disobey the LORD . False prophets announced God would send Judah’s captives home within two years. Yet God’s unpopular prophet Jeremiah tells exiles to make a good life in their current situation (Jeremiah 29:5-7). Then he continues with God’s promise for their future.

“For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:10–14 NRSV).

Perhaps you’ll realize your dream tomorrow, perhaps not. Perhaps first God will grow you, strengthen you, and prepare you. In the meantime, call upon Him. Seek Him with all your heart, not just for what He can do for you, but for who He is. Christ Himself is our hope and our future.

If you have a story of postponed dreams, please share. We’d love to hear from you.

10 Responses to “Little by Little”

  1. Leslie Biffle November 16, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    Love this!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • nancydavisbiffle November 16, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Thank you. I know you have a story you could share as well.

  2. brightfireofjoy November 16, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    This is so encouraging to me, where I am in life right now. Thanks Mom! Sometimes we all need to be reminded that our dreams aren’t unattainable. For me, it’s a relief to be reminded that I may not be ready to fulfill my dreams. It’s nice to remember that God isn’t done equiping me yet.
    I’ve been feeling like an outsider in my own skin lately as I watch the Lord prepare my husband and I for whatever comes next for us. We are being forced to take what feels like tiny stumbling baby steps in the moment, but as I look back at our first two years of marriage I realize how things have fallen into place , and how blessed our progress really is.
    My postponed education and career, the children I dream of having, the house we want to own.. I may not immediately understand why we face each particular road block and detour as it happens, but I can trust that God knows what he’s doing and will get me there as we become capable.
    What a blessed relief.

    • nancydavisbiffle November 16, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      Thank you for your wonderful words. You have made my day. There really are advantages to getting older and looking back. God does have a wonderful plan for you and I can’t wait to see it unfold.

  3. Dendy November 16, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Nancy Davis Biffle! Love your blog! Love you. This is wonderful!

    • nancydavisbiffle November 16, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Thank you Dendy. I pray about my topic and write about whatever God puts on my heart. You really got me started on the speaking/wtiting thing. I love you and miss our great times of fellowship.

  4. Robbin November 16, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    love it!!!!!

    • nancydavisbiffle November 24, 2013 at 2:15 am #

      Thanks Robin. I’d love to hear some of your stories of hope.

  5. Kat November 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    You have the great gift of inspiring Hope. It is a blessing to have that gift. Love to you. Kat

    • nancydavisbiffle November 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks Kat. It’s my joy to pass on the hope I have in Christ.

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