As a homeschooling parent and a ministry leader I invest a lot of time, effort and most of all heart into everything that I do. I have big dreams and I expect to see them come to fruition. Last week however confirmed for me that with big dreams also come big disappointments. Now I know that can sound a little pessimistic but it’s an honest statement that reminds me that I shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t go according to my plans. Instead I should use those experiences to deepen my faith and push harder towards those dreams. The biggest threat to my dreams aren’t the circumstances that are out of my control but the state of dismay that can overcome my heart as a result of them.
Dismay means to cause someone to feel very worried, disappointed, or upset. Some synonyms are daunt, demoralize, dishearten, discourage, dispirit, frustrate, unman and unnerve. Looking at this list feels sadly like a list I could have written last week based on my own emotional state. I’m not the type to stay down for long but getting past these feelings has been a bit more difficult then usual. But after searching the Word for hope, now I think I may know why. When dismay takes hold of a heart it has the ability to take out even a trained army of fighters.
In the first book of Samuel chapter 17 we read about how the Israelites gathered at the Valley of Elah to fight the Philistines, however when the champion Goliath stepped forward and began hurling threats and insults to them the word says, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified”(verse 11). What happened next is unbelievable. These experienced fighters lost all courage, all nerve and all faith that God was still able to give them the victory. For 40 days they sunk deeper into hopelessness as they listened to taunts of their enemy. Until David showed up with the truth of God’s word in his heart and on his lips and defeated Goliath, filling the Israelite army with courage once again, allowing them to pursue the fleeing Philistine army to their defeat.
You see David had the right approach in this situation. He faced the same threat as the Israelite army and heard the same insults but instead of being dismayed he was filled with faith in God and courage enough to take on the challenge ahead. And that’s what I must do, that’s what you must do. If you have been demoralized – if the challenge ahead of you seems daunting – if your plans have been frustrated – it’s time to remember that the God we serve is a mighty God and that as long as we have submitted our lives, our hearts and our dreams to him then he will give us the victory in every circumstance.
Things won’t always go as planned but the only way to see our dreams come to life is push past the disappointment and turn to God.