I’ve been thinking about dreams, visions, and callings again lately… and then ol’ Robbymac posts on the subject just to stir the pot. (I’ll have to get him back for that later.) It seems I’m looking for the 411 on the subject and all I’m getting is the 404.
Let’s review. We’re talking about dreams, visions, and callings that seem to have died… ones that we don’t think that we or God want dead.
And here’s the Rub. I had a dream. I had a vision. I had a calling. People said things to me, people “saw” things for me, people encouraged me in certain things. And I felt God called me to certain things. I had this idea that God puts deep within us an earnest and eager desire to do the thing he’s ultimately called us to do, and we can sometimes feel out of place when we aren’t pursuing that thing. Often it seems to us that perhaps it couldn’t be truly God calling us to that thing because it’s the thing we want so badly. The logic ran that God would put a desire in us that he longs to fill for his own Glory, and as long as we were in touch with the desires that God put within us, we would gravitate into our calling. God wouldn’t put a desire like that in the depths of our spirit and then specifically not want us to see it fulfilled… that’d be sadistic. I reasoned that a lot of these dreams are therefore from God. And I had a dream.
So then Robbymac writes,
It was almost like an X-Files kind of moment: people wanted to believe that their dreams and hopes were from God, but lacking evidence, were losing hope and trying to make sense out of life — if I may be permitted to use the dreaded “post” prefix — post-dreams/vision.
Am I post-dreams/vision, or dare I push the envelope… post-calling?
Now, one of the common verses to encourage people who are discouraged in their callings is Romans 11:29.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (ESV)
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (NET)
For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (NIV)
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (KJV)
For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of. (ASV)
God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded. (Message)
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. (NLT)
For once they are made, God does not withdraw his gifts of his calling. (Phillips)
So let’s just pause and stipulate that translators seem to be pretty much in agreement about what the verse ought to say in fairly plain English. And though there may be room for “post-dreams/vision,” it doesn’t support the notion of “post-calling.” I’m not sure if that’s the good news or the bad news.
So I had this thing I wanted to do, I felt God called me to do, someday… something to work toward. This became the thing I most wanted to do, above all other things, someday. At first I felt encouraged by the church leaders to pursue it. I began to engage in related activities, somewhat “dabbling” in this calling, working toward being able to “leave my nets behind.” Eventually I felt resisted by the church leaders in my pursuit of it. Then I kind of gave up and asked how on earth I could ever have possibly wanted to do this thing. Now I’m not so sure that this thing should even be done in the way that it’s always been done, and maybe I was all wrong about it to start with. I’m not seriously motivated in this direction anymore, and I’m not encouraged about the whole thing. Maybe I’m “post-couraged.”
So now I have this problem. I still believe that I had a dream, that this dream was of God. Moreover, I had a calling. What happened to it? Well, it must still be there somewhere, but it seems a little MIA at the moment. If anyone sees it wandering around, give me a shout, okay? Seriously, the problem is this: I’m not convinced I was wrong about the whole thing, but there are a lot of irreconcilables involved, and it no longer looks at all appealing and I no longer think I’m up to the task at all. Maybe dreams, visions, and callings don’t evaporate or get rescinded after all… but evidently they’re still prone to some very deep hibernation.