Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Someone shared a story recently on the radio about a certain Bishop Milton Wright who lived in Ohio in the 19th century. He was apparently in a church meeting where another Bishop made the statement that “Everything that can be invented has been invented”. Milton stood up and said he disagreed. He said that he believed man would fly in the next 50 years. The other Bishop said that was sacrilegious and that only birds could fly. It turns out that this Bishop Milton Wright was the father of a certain Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of the airplane.
Now I’m a bit of a skeptic and like to research such claims, and I was a little disappointed to find no support for that story. In fact it is more likely that the quote about everything being invented already was first used as a joke in a 1899 edition of Punch Magazine, but nonetheless, it made me think of the concept of dreaming and whether having huge, or possibly outlandish dreams can be something of God.
I read a report recently that tracked the odds of a US high school student athlete moving on and playing their respective sport in NCAA Division 1 (http://www.scholarshipstats.com/varsityodds.html). Following is a selection of the percentage chance of making it in a few sports: Baseball (2.1%), Basketball (1.0%), Football (2.4%), Gymnastics (16.9%), Soccer (1.4%), Track & Field (1.7%), Volleyball (0.9%). And of those NCAA athletes, on average about 1% of those ever go on to play pro or compete at the Olympics.
So is it foolish to dream to become a professional athlete, or if you have a child with such a dream is it foolish to encourage them to pursue a 0.01% chance to live their dream? From my experience there is no one right answer to that question. I believe in many circumstances it would be foolish, but in others not. Today’s scripture from Ephesians 3:20 (Living Bible translation) says: “[God]…is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of”.
When young people ask me for advice in pursuing a dream I think it is only wise to spend time logically considering the odds and using our God-given wisdom to consider how wise this pursuit is, however I ultimately end each conversation the same way: “You need to hear from God”. That answer may come as you simply consider the wisdom of it, but it may come more specifically. If God intends for you to pursue a dream, it will be for His glory, and He will make it happen. Most importantly, God is interested in you and your relationship with Him. He is interested in the Great Commission (Matthew 18:16-20). If he can use what he has placed on your heart for that purpose, then the odds are no longer relevant. No, God can do immeasurably more than we can dream or imagine. Dream on brothers and sisters!