In just a couple days an event that only happens every 4 years will start, the summer Olympics in Rio. In 2012, I happened to be in Jamaica during the summer Olympics when London was hosting. If you know anything about Jamaica, you probably know that they take lots of pride in their ability to run. One day I was in a hardware store getting parts, they had some small display TV’s running the Olympics. When it was Jamaica’s turn to run the store pretty much shut down. Everyone in the store gathered around the TV’s to watch.
Did you know that the early form of the Olympics is mentioned in scripture? Hebrews 12:1-3 says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The writer of Hebrews was appealing to the sporting events of the day; the Grecian Games. The writer uses language that the people can relate to and still apply to us today, especially in the context of trusting God with unfulfilled dreams.
First, the great cloud of witnesses. In a race there are people that cheer the runner on. In the Roman rule they had round coliseums where people would cheer on the athletes. A few years back Jennifer ran a half marathon where myself and other youth pastors cheered her on by eating doughnuts as they ran by. Kinda cruel, I know, but funny. Hebrews 11 tells us who is cheering us on. The heros that went before us testify by their lives that since they were able to accomplish great things for God so can we.
Second, we need to lay aside every weight and the sin that entangles. Can you imagine running a race wearing an overcoat or a wookie costume? It was prevent the runner from performing to their potential. So is true with sin in our spiritual race. It will slow us down, trip us up, and prevent us from reaching our spiritual potential.
Third, we need to run our race with patience. God makes it clear in scripture He has a perfect plan for our lives (Jer. 29:11), but we have a big part to play in seeing that plan come to pass. One thing every Olympic athlete has in common is training. They literally begin training years before they plan to participate. God puts us through training too. He will take whatever time He needs to prepare us for His plan. It’s when we get impatient that the plan can fall apart. Consider Abraham and Ishmael. A son bore outside of the promise of God because Abraham and Sarah became impatient in God’s timing. (Gen 15-16) That choice created a people that are still fighting with the Jewish people today. It's when we step ahead of God's timing that our dreams become our nightmare.
How to Trust God with unfulfilled dreams:
-Trust God by committing your dreams and plans to the Lord. Psalm 37:5 says “He will do it.”
-Ask God where to start. James 1:5 says God gives wisdom to those who ask.
-Keep persevering - Galatians 6:9 says at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.
-Take joy in where your at - Philippians 4:11-13 says I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me, which in context of the verse is referring to contentment.
God has done it for me, He can do it for you.
Pastor Justin Werven
New Life Assembly of God