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Writing

truth, joy, life

The Land of the Living

What do we do when something doesn’t bloom in our life?

A dream, a goal, an idea … something you’ve held dear, close to your heart, hoping beyond hope that it will begin to flourish. What do you do when that thing, whatever it is for you, lies dormant year after year?


Maybe it’s the desire to have children. Maybe it’s a career goal. Possibly a move, a new home, a new place to land. When it doesn’t bloom, when that thing doesn’t break ground, how do you respond?


When something doesn’t bloom in our lives, especially if we’ve done extensive work to till the soil of that desire, nourish it, and provide for it to grow, it can be devastating. Putting your heart and soul into something dear creates an attachment to it, even if it isn’t realized yet. And when it lies dormant, we sometimes resign it to being dead in the ground prematurely.


For something to be dormant means for it to be suspended in time and activity. Slowed to the point of seeming devoid of life altogether. But it isn’t. It’s alive, but as of yet, it’s not actively growing.


I’ve encountered this dormancy several times in my life. Sometimes the dormancy has led to death. A complete loss of that dream being fulfilled on earth. And I’ve grieved deeply at having to let it go. But sometimes, I find myself jumping to conclusions of death, when in fact, it’s very possible that thing might simply be lying dormant for its perfect time to bloom.


The Psalmist says in chapter 27:13-14, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”


In this Psalm, David is in peril. He’s surrounded on all sides, and what does he do? He looks up. He gazes toward the face of God and reminds himself that God is his refuge. Then proclaims what he believes, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” v. 13.


Then, as if knowing he needs his own encouragement he preaches to himself, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” v. 14.


When we are experiencing what feels like the death of a dream and begin to grieve, let’s lift up our heads. We can take our grieving hearts to God, gazing upon His face for reminders of courage and comfort and protection. Sometimes, we might be jumping to conclusions, and that dream might be simply lying dormant, waiting for its time. And sometimes, yes, it might mean that it's time for that dream to die, at least on this side of heaven. Even still, sometimes it might need to die so something else can be planted anew.


We might not see the blooming or fulfillment of all our dreams this side of glory. Some things may end in death. But what doesn’t end in death if we are in Christ is our story. He is constantly working His redemptive purpose in our lives, even if it may seem dormant for a time … even a long time. But what we can do, like the Psalmist, is gaze upon the face of the Lord and remind ourselves to believe that we will one day look upon all the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We can also pray that the land of the living stretches down into our present reality here and now. If it doesn’t, we can grieve, but not as those without hope of the future.


Reflection/Application:

  • What are some hopes/goals/ideas you'd love to see come to life?

  • What are some hopes/goals/ideas you've had to let go of?

  • Has your grief in the past or present pointed your thoughts toward Christ? How so or why not?

  • What is something you've been cultivating, and are scared is dead, but may be just lying dormant?

  • What would it look like for you to gaze upward and have hope that you will see the land of the living?

Prayer:

Lord, the person reading this today has hopes in their soul whether their mind knows it or not. Some dreams you may be asking them to let go of, and some you may be saying, "Just not yet." Whatever your plan is, I pray that you would comfort them. I pray that you would let them gaze upon your face and feel the comfort of an all-knowing, ever-present God who understands and welcomes a grieving heart. If their hopes are simply lying dormant, waiting for your timing, help them have courage in the face of what's not blooming. Most of all, help them to, like call to mind and have hope that your steadfast loves sustains and never ceases (Lamentations 3:21-24). Amen.


—Whitney




Photo by Valeriia Miller on Unsplash


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