Sunday, November 13, 2011

Goals, Aspirations, Dreams and…Failure??

There is some pretty strong wisdom widely circulated that those who would do great things will certainly pass through serious failure.

And this was the theme of the message this morning.

A visiting minister, Dave, spoke about failure from the life of David Brainerd: pioneer Christian missionary to Native American peoples.  Brainerd’s biography written by Jonathan Edwards inspired the future missionary careers of William Carey and Jim Elliot just to name a couple.

However, it was not from the glowing success of Brainerd’s missionary career that Dave spoke.  It was from his greatest failure.

Brainerd’s greatest aspiration had been to become a pastor.  In the 1700’s this was a noble profession with high esteem in society and so he entered the top training school at that time, Yale.  Brainerd was nearly finished his degree, poised to gain top honors when one arrogant, impetuous comment about one of his tutor’s cynicism towards a revival happening on campus changed his life forever.

Brainerd made the comment in a hallway of the school to some friends, but someone from the school administration overheard it.  He was immediately expelled and never allowed to finish his degree.  At this time no pastorate could be obtained unless the candidate held a degree from Harvard, Yale or a European Institution. Thus, this expulsion effectively forever crushed Brainerd’s one great dream for his life.

File:Brainerd preaching.jpgBut, as is the case with all great stories, with our story, it did not end there.  God had something greater that could only come through this failure which He allowed in Brainerd’s life. 

It is fairly certain that Brainerd would never have become a missionary to Native Americans if his dream of a pastorate were obtained.  Yet this path was not his settling for something less, rather, it was the finding of the life-sized dream of God’s heart for him.

And through Brainerd’s life, not only did many come to know the hope of Jesus, but future generations of missionaries were inspired to go to countless people with the good news.

For all of you who have been following our story, you can imagine the chords of this story with which my heart is resonating.  As Jared {my hubby} and I sat beside each other, I thought of all that’s led us to this point in our missionary journey.

One great season of failure, in particular, stands out.  I had begun a seminary degree in which I was very successful.  I had been chosen as a finalist for a prestigious internship where I would have travelled around the country with a well-known Christian speaker.  I felt with surety that I knew where my life was going.

Budapest 055However, I failed to travel to the live interview due to a personal crisis resulting from a relationship I had foolishly invested myself in and it’s abrupt and full rupture which devastated me.  I really believe that if I had been able to go to that interview {they were choosing 7 of 11 finalists} I would have been offered the internship.

Instead, I wasn’t. And due to how much hurt and pain I was going through, for the first time in my life, I was willing to leave seminary and NOT finish something.  I was also, for the first time, willing to come home to live with my parents.

So I came home and taught Math at my old high school which was no where near any dream of mine.  I cared for my mom when one year later she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and nine months later died, which on the face of it, would have been one of my worst nightmares.  In the midst of that, I met my husband and married this guy from my hometown.  Definitely NOT what I was going to do.

Then, about eight years ago, in my husband’s home church, God introduced us to a ministry to high school students in the public schools of Hungary. Eastern Europe had NEVER crossed my mind as a place where I would one day live…even go to for a short-term missions project.Budapest 044

But God knew about all of this and about taking away every dream I had of what, where and with whom I would live my life.  He laid me low in a life-altering way and has been building this journey piece by piece ever since.

I have so far to go, but I can tell you, that the great theme that emerged from this life-altering failure is that God loves me enough to bring no plan or success into my life that does not bring me closer to Him.  He has burned within my heart as its greatest desire that I would be His and that my life would reflect His Glory.

That is worth everything to me. to Him.  and worth the bearing of every failure and the death of every goal, aspiration and dream.

 

UseitonMonday

Thank You LORD who is Greater ::

  • for the unexpected
  • for bends in the road
  • for failures that open the door to Your dreams
  • for moving past the fear—You redeem it all
  • for how You write the best chapters
  • for darkness before the dawn
  • for all of the shattered dreams of years gone by
  • for bringing me home
  • for finding this life in the last place I would have looked
  • for the Song of Creation
  • for harvest moons
  • for sunsets that make me think of Your robe reaching Earth
  • for tiny voices
  • for son who wants to please Your heart and says so
  • for a Sunday date with my sweet hubby
  • for You. fully trustworthy.
  • for loving me enough to close every door that leads me away from You
  • for how You are re-making me to desire Your Glory more than my own
  • for Your ways as higher
  • for the BEST ALWAYS AND EVER YET TO COME!

#1591-1610

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