Author: Shawna Jerch, Go To Nations Missionary to Thailand
Where do your daydreams escort you? What doodles lie on the pages of your heart, waiting for life to be breathed into them? When you close your eyes and picture the prime of your life, where do you place yourself? What kind of life do you hunger for?
You may see a beautiful wedding, then press fast forward and picture two beloved children reaching to hug your neck. You may get the image of yourself walking confidently down the halls of a hospital to go into surgery, quickly directing people as you go. You could be picturing a desk with your name carved into it beside the title CEO. Maybe you see a women’s ministry, a new house, a published book, or a church plant. Or maybe you see a big blank space. It’s possible that you have forgotten how to dream. Some of you may have never allowed yourselves to dream, at least not for as long as you can remember.
But what if I told you that God’s purposes won’t move forward lest we choose to dream with Him? Radical action starts with a dream, and dreams can either be self-produced or God-inspired. God’s plan is that His Creation would chose to dream with Him, and the enemy’s plan is to put just enough fear in front of you that you can’t see those dreams or can’t seem to touch them.
God’s dreams are probably way beyond our ability to fully grasp, but I can imagine that He too dreams of weddings, families, and success. He loves to bless His kids. But I think there is something else that burns with great intensity in God’s heart, something that both encompasses and surpasses these dreams: the dream to bring His children from every nation of the earth back into His family.
I recently read a book that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone called The Little Princes. It’s about a man who visits Nepal and gets swept away by the boys in an orphanage there, only to find out that they aren’t orphans at all, they are children that have been trafficked. He then goes on a journey to the ultra-remote villages where they were born to find their families. However, in his time in Nepal he also comes across seven trafficked children who live in a slum in Kathmandu and are starving, wounded, and homeless. He goes through extreme efforts to find a children’s home that will be able to take them in, only to return and find the children have vanished. In frustration he struggles with the fact that seven children could just disappear to be brought into unknown horrors and no one would even notice, no one would miss them, and surely no one would do anything. He’s startled from his rant when a friend calls him irrational and unjust. He then concludes this: “I had spent all my money traveling around the world. I would never struggle to get medical attention for my children, or to keep them out of the hands of armed men trying to abduct them. I would never watch my friends and neighbors waste away from starvation. I would never pray to God for rain to keep crops alive. But if I ever did experience even a fraction of one of these fears, I was certain, I had to admit, that I would not spend my time worrying about children I had never met, I would be concerned about keeping my own family alive.” So instead of marveling at the inaction of those around him, he began a relentless pursuit to track down every one of those seven children.
“The world hardly notices.”
Heidi Baker stated it so simply last year that I had to jot it down in my journal. I’ve heard it said many ways by missions experts and native people alike and every time it hits me like a splash of cold water. This concept reverberates through not only my ears but my entire being. Yet it doesn’t discourage me, it inspires me to dream.
“The hope of liberty for the nations of the earth demands that we DREAM.” Rick Curry
The dark eyes of a child peering at me from behind a matted nest of dark hair challenge me to dream of a hopeful spark igniting them and passing from child to child until the joy casts away every shadow of fear. The metallic, shimmering temples with looming gods initiate a vision of people of assorted colors and various tongues bowing before the God of the Universe as an infinite crowd continually runs to join them. When I meet displaced or trafficked children I begin to feel the ache that God feels and join Him in plotting how to bring His family back to Him. When I get that feeling of “The world hardly notices” I itch to grab my worn in backpack, tie up my boots, and run to embrace those that the world has forgotten.
When I lay in a field with God, cloud-watching and discussing our dreams, maps, airplanes, and brown faces consume our conversation. When you dream with God it might look completely different. There might be business strategies, or homeless shelters, or art museums. But the key question is: are your dreams self-produced or God-inspired? Can the lost, the broken, the hopeless, the nations, count on YOU to dream on their behalf?
Author: From a young age Shawna has had a desire to see the world, but when she was in High School God called her to experience it through His eyes. She attended Bible school at Christ for the Nations Institute, and in March of 2016 she began her two year apprenticeship in Chiang Rai, Thailand. She now ministers by sowing the love of Jesus in the many searching souls that roam the continent of Asia.