Copyright 2006 Rob Marshall
When I first starting telling people that we were going to move to Germany, I had no idea how we were going to do it. We didn’t have the money to pay for the move, we didn’t know anybody in Germany and I had no idea how I was going to find work. It seemed like it was an impossible dream, but I did have one thing going for me, I had faith.
It’s like one of my favorite stories from the Bible, the story of David and Goliath. When David told everyone that he was going to be able to defeat Goliath, he had no idea how he was going to do it. He was just a shepherd boy and Goliath was a warrior. The odds were against him and it seemed like an impossible task. But David did have one thing going for him, he had faith.
If having faith is all that it takes to make the impossible possible, to make seemingly unreachable dreams a reality, and to turn certain defeat into victory, the question is: what is faith?
For many years I could quote the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” But I really didn’t understand it until I was able to put it into a simple formula that says:
Desire + Expectation + Action = Faith.
In the formula desire is simply what we want. It’s what the verse in Hebrews calls the things we hope for. The expectation part of the formula is what we really believe about what we want. The Bible calls it substance. It’s the intangible sense that we can have what we want, even if we’re not sure how it will happen. The last part of the formula is action. It’s what we do today that is the evidence, or the proof, of what we expect.
When I apply this formula to David’s battle with Goliath, David’s desire was to defeat Goliath. His expectation was that, God was going to help him kill Goliath just like He had helped him kill a lion and a bear that had attacked his sheep. The actions that he took were to get a clear picture in his mind of Goliath lying dead on the ground. Because David believed he could defeat Goliath, he soon found a way to use the skills he had with a shepherd’s sling to kill the giant with a single shot.
For our move to Germany, my desire was to live and work in Germany. My expectation was that God would work out all the details, even though I couldn’t see how it was possible. Then we took action. We bought a map of Germany and put it on the wall of our dining room where it served to constantly remind us of our dream. We also started preparing for living in Germany by studying the language, meeting with an elderly German woman who lived near us, and listening to German music.
What is your dream? And how is your faith?
Start by looking at your desires. And by that I don’t mean the kind of desires that a three year old would have when going through a toy store where all the bright colored packages would catch his attention and he’d say, “Oh! I want that, and that, and that.” By desire I mean that kind of deep desires you have in your heart that are the things you really want to accomplish in your life.
Then take a look at your expectation. What do you really believe about fulfilling that desire and reaching your dream? Do you believe that you have to have all the answers first? David didn’t. And, like David, all I knew was that impossible dreams can come true as long as we’re willing to believe that they can.
And how about your actions? Do you have a clear picture in your mind, and maybe a “map on the wall” or some photos of your dream that you can use to remind you of your dream? Are there things that you can do today that will help you prepare for the day when your dream becomes a reality?
Whatever those actions may be, take one today and then another tomorrow, and keep doing that day after day. And whenever you begin to feel fear or doubt, look at the picture of your dream, imagine how good it will feel to be living that dream, and your faith will help you reach it.
It took three-and-a-half years of prayer and preparation before we moved to Germany, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. The sheer joy of seeing a dream come true was incredible. We spent almost ten years living and working in different parts of Germany and we were able to move to the former communist East Germany shortly after the wall fell. We have friends and memories that will last us a lifetime.
For David, the battle with Goliath was a major step toward reaching his dream of becoming king. After he burst on the scene with his victory over Goliath, there was still a lot of time and preparation that needed to happen before he became king. But his faith kept him strong and he was able to become one of the greatest kings the nation of Israel ever had.
What will reaching your dreams mean to you? How will it feel when you accomplish something that you’ve longed for most of your life? Just have a little faith and you’ll soon find out.