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Miranda Writes: What to Do When God Asks You to Give Up Your Dream, Part 2

by Omar Miranda

Last week we began looking at the question “What do we do when God asks us to give up our dreams?” We discussed Abram and Sarai: two lowly, childless desert dwellers who were promised by God that they would have a son and that son would make their descendants as vast and numberless as the stars in the sky! Wow, awesome promise . . . except that Abram and Sarai were both human. So sometimes they had faith, and sometimes they didn’t; sometimes they obeyed, and sometimes they didn’t.

In the midst of Abram’s journey to find the Promised Land, the Lord reminded Abram several more times of His incredible promise. But don’t you know that Abram was human? And don’t you know that he was not getting any younger? And don’t you know that he must have been thinking a lot about God’s promise?

Finally in chapter 15 of Genesis, we see Abram verbalizing what must have been on his and his wife’s mind the entire time: “Abram answered, ‘Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything’” (verses 2 and 3, CEV).* There it is! Isn’t it nice to know that Abram was human just like you and me, and questioned and doubted too? God replied to Abram that he indeed would have a child and that his descendants would be like the stars in the heavens. Take a look at Abram’s response to God’s explanation: “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with Him” (verse 6).

Fast-forward several more years. By this time Abram was trying to make God’s promise come true all by himself, in his power, and through his timetable, and it’s no surprise that lots of really bad things happened with his family. (I’m talking The Jerry Springer Show—everybody in the family needed therapy!)
Here’s an interesting question that I can’t resist asking you: Have you ever tried to fulfill God’s dream for you in your own timetable and through your own power? What were the results? Not good? I know. I’ve also experienced those same results—for 10 years of my life. And the truth is that every morning I must choose to let God control my moment-by-moment choices so that in the end I will have a good life and can live the dream that God has given me.

In the midst of all of this craziness, Abram’s wife, Sarai, still hadn’t had any children. Abram was again reassured by God of His promise to Abram, and in chapter 18 of Genesis we see God more specifically promise Abram and give a specific time when his son will be born.

Fast-forward many years. In Genesis 22 Abram’s name has been changed to Abraham, and his son has been born and probably grown up into a preteen or teen, maybe about your age. Both Abraham and his wife (who, by the way, had her name changed as well from Sarai to Sarah) have passed and failed many faith tests throughout their lives thus far, but God has one final test for Abraham to see if he really loves and trusts God. The story is found in Genesis 22:1-18. We won’t look at all the verses, but I encourage you to read it on your own. Here’s the bottom line: God decided to test Abraham’s trust, loyalty, faith, and obedience to Him and to His promises by asking Abraham to sacrifice—aka kill—his only, promised son! Abraham followed through with total faith in God, and at the last second, literally, he was stopped, Abraham’s son was spared, and God provided an animal sacrifice instead.

Let’s take a look at several verses to get the flavor of what God was trying to do and Abraham’s responses: “The Lord said, ‘Go get Isaac, your only son, the one you dearly love! Take him to the land of Moriah, and I will show you a mountain where you must sacrifice him to me on the fires of an altar’” (verse 2). “‘Don’t hurt the boy or harm him in any way!’ the angel said. ‘Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son’” (verse 12). “The Lord’s angel called out from heaven a second time: ‘You were willing to offer the Lord your only son, and so he makes you this solemn promise, “I will bless you and give you such a large family, that someday your descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the sky or the grains of sand along the beach. They will defeat their enemies and take over the cities where their enemies live. You have obeyed me, and so you and your descendants will be a blessing to all nations on earth”’” (verses 15-18).

Wow! Would you be willing to do that? I mean, would you be willing to give God your all? I mean, take what God has placed on your heart for years and years and just sacrifice it—in a sense, give it up and totally let it go—just because God told you to? Could you do that? Or would you want to hold on to it even harder and stronger? If you do that, it’s going to be more painful than ever when God has to rip it out of your hands as opposed to you living your life with your spiritual hands holding loosely to the things of this life and holding tightly only to Jesus. I’ve found the secret of holding on to things loosely in this world—even the dreams that God has given me—and it’s found in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord” (NIV).† So it stands to reason that if I hold on to God and seek to know Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, then I’ll know—and more important, receive and achieve—God’s dream for me. But it’s only through letting God have His way in my life, and that means letting God have it all. The Bible says in Psalms 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV).

Next week we’ll finish up learning about Abraham’s incredible response to God’s crazy request, and we’ll learn some more lessons and wrap up our study of Abraham.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site,; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

    * Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
    † Verses marked NIV are from The Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

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