Waiting Well: Advent Wk 4: God’s Dreams for You
A man went to his doctor, very upset about his health. “What’s your problem?” asked the doctor. “It’s terrible!” said the patient. “When I look in the mirror every morning, I see thinning hair, sagging jowls, crooked teeth, and bloodshot eyes. I’m a mess! What is it?” “I really don’t know,” said the doctor. “But the good news is: Your eyesight is perfect.”
Reality doesn’t always match our hopes and dreams. Our eyesight may be perfect but our foresight is flawed.
St. Joseph had hoped and dreamed a long time about the wonderful family he was going to make with Mary: Lots of children, and later on, grandchildren. Even the thought of it warmed his heart. And then, in an instant, it was gone. Mary is pregnant, by the Holy Spirit, so he is not the father. The door to all his dreams slammed shut in his face.
We have been talking a lot the last few weeks about waiting well. About knowing what we are waiting for and getting ready for that, and aligning our dreams with God’s dreams and doing what we need to do to be part of God’s dreams for us, doing what we need to do to be in line with God’s will for us. When we do that we wait well for things in life because we are then actively involved with how God is trying to work in our lives.
Joseph has been waiting and preparing well for Mary. But now he becomes anxious and afraid. God then visits him in a dream and tells him not to worry because he has big plans for Mary and their child.
The door to Joseph’s dreams slammed shut. But God opened another door. God had bigger dreams than Joseph’s dreams. What lay beyond the door was still invisible, but Joseph trusted God so thoroughly that he walked through that door anyway. There was no houseful of children on the other side, and not even one grandchild, but there was Jesus. Wow. God had big and important dreams for Joesph.
Imagine being a part of Jesus’ life from his very first breath! Imagine watching over him and being his guide as he grew into a young man. It was more than Joseph would ever have dreamed or hoped for. But none of it would have happened if he’d said “No” to God and refused to take that step into the unknown, learned to align his dreams with God’s dreams.
So Joseph decides he will do his best to align his desires with God’s desires, align his dreams with God’s dreams for his family. He does this by thinking about what God is asking him to do, preparing for things in the way God asks him to prepare, and then following through on those preparations.
All too often, life confounds our hopes and expectations. Doors slam shut without warning. Our hopes wilt. We can’t see what God sees. We just see just the fog and sometimes, when we are really upset, all we see is darkness. We’re left with only one real choice: Run away, wither and die, or embrace the present. Walk into it, one step at a time, confident that God will help us see what he sees there, and find the good he’s hidden there for us – when it’s time.
Will we be ready for those mind-twisting, soul-wrenching moments when they come? Will we be ready to face the impenetrable fog and the crushing darkness? We will if we have the habit of walking with the Lord. We’ll be ready if we have the habit of trusting him, accepting the silence and waiting for him without growing impatient or giving in to our fears.
When Joseph aligns his desires to God’s desires, when he aligns his dreams with God’s dreams, we might say he yields to what God is asking him to do.
What do you understand when we speak of yielding to God’s desires? What do you imagine when we say you should want to yield to God’s dreams for you?
For the first three weeks of Advent, we have been asking the Lord to enter our hearts, to help us to change in ways he wants us to change. This week the responsorial psalm says “Let the Lord enter, he is the king of glory.” This week we yield to the Lord’s dreams for us and let the Lord enter.
We must be willing to yield our desires and our thoughts to God’s sovereign wisdom. Our model is Jesus. As he faced the cross, He prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” We must pray with that same spirit, humbly yielding our will to God’s will, yielding to God’s dreams for us.
What kind of big dreams do you think God may have for you? Are you feeling frustrated about anything in life? Give it to the Lord –surrender. Give your frustrations, your anxieties to him and take in his dreams for you.
In prayer, we recognize that God is in control. When we submit to God’s sovereign rule, we understand that the outcome is his to decide and ultimately what he decides is what is best for his glory and our joy. “Let the Lord enter your heart, your mind, your spirit, he is the king of glory.”
You are God’s beautiful daughters and sons. As God’s daughters and sons, we don’t always know what’s best for us. The Father knows best. Instead of grumbling about “unanswered” prayers, we can thank God that he doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we think he should. When we pray for God’s will to be done, we shouldn’t be trying to manipulate God into rubber-stamping what we have already decided needs to happen in our lives.
To live our lives by “yielding” to God is a way that we submit our desires to him. In the end, it is our way of acknowledging that his will is what will truly satisfy us anyway. God’s will and plan is better than ours. His foresight is further and his love is greater than we have for others and even ourselves. His dreams for you are much bigger than your dreams could ever be.
Reality doesn’t always match our hopes and dreams. Joseph responded with a profound act of faith. One of the psalms tell us, “Be stout-hearted and wait for the Lord.” That’s great advice, because in his own good time, the Lord will show himself, and what has been hidden, God’s dreams, will be made clear. We are human. Our eyesight may be good, but our foresight is almost always flawed. Trust the Lord, and your soul will be at peace.
Those are all the things we would like for you to know. This is what we would like for you to do. As you prepare for Christmas, learn to yield to the Lord and relax in his dreams for you. Let God be God for the week. Trust the Lord, and your soul will be at peace. Relax and enjoy Christmas.