Following our dreams [both figuratively & literally] is a bold decision that all of us face at one time or another. The outcome of those dreams can leave us living “happily ever after” or can quickly turn into a nightmare that results in failure.
March of 2003 was a crazy time in my life. I had a stretch of a 5 days where I got absolutely NO sleep & was convinced that I was having a quarter-life crisis. Looking back, I probably was. I wasn’t on drugs or anything at that time — I was just having a bit of a mental meltdown.
I had this weird vision where I was in a church service at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa [at the time, I wasn’t even that familiar with Calvary Chapel & had no idea where Costa Mesa really was located in context of Southern California] standing in-between Mel Gibson & Bono. I took that as a sign that I needed to hit the road & journey down Interstate 5 to Orange County. I ended up borrowing $50 from one of my best friend’s dad, met my mom at her work to convey my plans to take-off for SoCal (she made me take her cell phone with me), and departed from Eugene, OR in pursuit of what I thought was my destiny…
It’s amazing how we can have something stuck in our heads – completely set on a particular outcome – and somehow God unpacks that crazy idea & translates it into real life. As audacious as that first thought may be – or its possible that the initial idea is utterly nonchalant – God has a way of using the craziest circumstances to bring to fruition all what we had originally dreamt might occur in our lives. We see that evident in the bible via the life of Paul the Apostle, who once was named Saul & hunted down early-adopters of the Christian faith.
Towards the beginning of Paul’s ministry — after his mind-blowing/life-altering/grace-filled encounter with Jesus & he proceeds to discontinue his pursuit of hunting down Christians and actually join them — he proclaims his desire to one day visit Italy & minister to those residing in Rome. As time would tell & the book of Acts declares, Paul encountered a diverse range of circumstances that would eventually land him in Rome as he had always hoped. The last six chapters of Acts describe a 5 year period that would start with Paul sharing his story of faith & conversion to a mob of people that were previous beating the tar out of him. He would go on to face false charges brought against him, jumping from one court to the next, before arriving in Rome to eventually face the ruler of the Roman Empire. Throughout this time, Paul was under house arrest & penned much of the New Testament as he wrote the various letters to the churches of that day.
Overall, we find that life with Jesus is a grand adventure. Dreams come true in ways we had never imagined. Our life, and the lives around us, are impacted by the love of Christ working in & thru us. Our hope cannot be dismayed when we continue to keep our eyes on Jesus. Though we might face trials that seem to leave us stranded, God is faithful to keep His word & fulfill His promises.
…on my way to Orange County in March of 2003, I made it 3/4 of the way before running out of gas on the side of the freeway. I ended up having to turn around & head back to Oregon with the help of my parents paying for gas over the phone with a credit card at various truck stops. I returned home feeling more lost than ever. Little did I know that God’s faithfulness would overcome my stupidity. Four months later, at the end of July, I would finally make it to Orange County. I was part of my buddy’s wedding party… and he got married at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. It was there where I would meet a girl on a park bench & wind up marrying her just 1 year later.
I have yet to stand in any church service between the likes of Mel Gibson & Bono — and I’m completely cool with that. Haha… God sure does have a sense of humor though, huh. 🙂