By Daphne Delay
With flashlight in hand, I carefully made my way down the uneven dirt path. As I walked, I prayed. I poured my heart out to God in the stillness of the night. It was cold, yet my heart was warmed by His abiding presence. "O God, you have placed a dream in my heart that I cannot run from..." As I pondered my heartfelt words, staying sensitive to His voice, my flashlight caught a glimpse of something on the ground. It was a heart - lying there in the dark, yet smiling at me as if God had placed it there for my eyes only.
"The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works" (Psalm 33:13-15).
I smiled back at the heart-shaped leaf lying in the dark. The silent, but vivid, message speaking to me from this "heart" was a reminder that God has created and designed everything with a purpose - including me. His creations are unique and individual. To the human eye, many have faults while others appear to be perfect in every way. Yet, it's all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?
God is the Beholder. Looking down on all creation, He watches and waits to see how everyone, and everything, fulfills the plans He has designed for them. As I walked upon that path in the remote mountains of New Mexico, pondering my dreams and considering the journey still yet ahead of me necessary for my assignment, God watched as another fulfilled its journey. A small leaf, one among thousands, had sprouted on a tree months before. As it grew, full of vitality and life, it must have gone unseen many times by passersby under the canopy of the tree. Winter took its natural course and subsequently, all the color from this once-vibrant leaf. Ever so gently, it fell from its high perch one day to a spot on a well-beaten path. To the unaware or pessimist, it would seem this leaf had passed its prime.
But God in heaven above watched over His creation, knowing two in search of a dream would meet on a dark night - both fulfilling the purposes He designed for them. The heart-shaped leaf smiled at the dreamer, encouraging her living heart with much more than words.
"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well" (Psalm 139:14). Despite the obstacles that challenge every dream, we must remember that none of us are ever past our prime as long as the dream remains. Who can judge the dream but the One who gave it? God understands everything we do because He made the hearts which carry the dreams. When we fall, He understands. When we try again, He smiles. For as long as we have breath, the dream lives.
The next day I took my camera back to the path to find the leaf. To my surprise, there were hundreds of heart-shaped leaves on the ground. As I leaned down to take a picture of one that may or may not have been the one which smiled at me, a man asked what I was doing. I explained the events of the night before and pointed to the leaf. He looked at it and chuckled as he said, "I never noticed..." I smiled as I thought to myself, "That's because it fulfilled its purpose by encouraging mine."
The obstacles we face are not always in opposition to the will of God - they are the planned hindrances to the work of God. The Apostle Paul recognized Satan's strategies to deter God's plans. He said, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24). In other words, he recognized his life was worth nothing unless he used it to finish the work assigned him.
Like Paul, we must press on despite the snags in our path. Never underestimate the power of God or the dream He's placed within you. For our Father in heaven sees all, and in His divine plan has another ready to fulfill his or her purpose as they intersect with you on this road we call life.
Copyright © 2012 Daphne Delay, used by permission.
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Daphne Delay is the founder of Mirror Ministries in Seminole, Texas. She is the author of Facing the Mirror: Finding a Self to Live With. Daphne has written over 200 articles for subscribers to Mirror Ministries and other publications, and she blogs nuggets of spiritual growth encouragement every week. Daphne is the wife of a senior pastor and the mother of three. www.mirrorministries.org
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