And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28
It just so happened that I had a quick moment to check his basket. When our builders arrive, I give those who are new a tour and then teach them how to build a basket. The builders who have built before get to skip the instructional and begin building as soon as they arrive. This young man had done just that. He was waiting patiently for me, as I finished, to check his basket to see if he could get candy for it.
As I moved a few things around and told him how much I loved the items he had picked out for the boy, age 11-12, he started talking. With a great amount of excitement and pleasure, he said, “Do you want to know what my theme is for this basket? Well, I am going to tell you about the theme that helped me build this basket.” He was so proud of what he had come up with: “Dream big! I just think if we are going to dream, we should dream big, and I want him to know that!” He then explained almost every detail to the basket. Why he had picked the toys and how they represented his theme. Then he moved onto the books, how he had read them and had enjoyed them so much. Each element he joyfully pointed to with a quick explanation as to its relevance; all of them supporting the idea to dream wonderfully big dreams.
It was a tad bit ironic that this young man was speaking to me about dreaming big because I had just read an interesting devotional. In it, it spoke of how God had promised to give the Israelites whatever land their feet walked upon, back in the days before entering the promised land. The devotional pointed out that God’s intention was to give them the breadth and scope of where they were willing to walk, but the promise was dependent on their willingness to actually take the necessary steps. Consequently, they were limited to where their feet were willing to go. It turns out that they never took the full breadth and scope of what was available to them. Where they failed to step, they did not receive. I remember being intrigued by the idea that we may–often limited by fears–take less than God actually intends for us to receive.
As fate would have it, without even looking for it, I came across that Scripture just a few days later. It was in the book of Joshua.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” Joshua 1:3
You see, it was already given to them ahead of time, it was just that they had to take possession of it. They were not even in the land that was promised to them when God gave this assurance to Joshua. Instead, God was encouraging them before hand–about a place that was only a dream in their hearts at that moment–with the divine support that every place you will tread, I have already planned to give to you. Imagine that! God wants us to dream big and trust bigger. Getting to a land of their own was a dream come true. Being free from bondage and oppression was almost too much to believe in. But there is a simple truth locked up in those words God gave to Joshua: for dreams to become a reality, a step (or leap) of faith is required. Most dreams stay dreams because the person never makes an advancement or movement towards bringing them into fruition.
And that, my friends, has pretty much been how this outreach has evolved. On Monday night, a pair of moms were placing candy in their well-designed baskets when one spoke up and said, “I think I need to up my game with my own baskets. My baskets get a few pieces of candy tossed in there haphazardly.” We all laughed, and I reassured her that I have heard that several times before from other parents. I believe that it is good for others to be inspired to make something they can give even more delightful. Most people see the detail, the fullness, and the beauty of these baskets. By them, they can see the goodness of God and are inspired by our initial dream of providing help to another parent and child that might not have anything on Easter morning. A dream that seemed impossible because we had very little concrete funds and no real way to generate them. But all along, God has said, “Don’t worry about numbers. Don’t worry about giving less or having enough. Dream big and take the necessary steps forward. I will meet you there. Do as I ask and I will provide in ways that you cannot imagine.”
We did and He has. A small group of moms and families who reached out, in the beginning, to other moms, families and individuals, who were so glad to spread the word. We searched out our closets, basements and homes for things that we could easily give to bring another joy while not necessarily costing us anything out of pocket. God taught and instilled in us a desire to bless another with the blessings He had already given us that we were no longer using. We prayed asking God to fill in where we could not, and He has faithfully done so in support of this dream. And yes, in ways we could not have even imagined in those first steps forward…
Funny thing is, it is not just our dream. There are parents laying awake at night–this very night–wondering how they can possibly bring together some semblance of a basket for their child who is dreaming of Easter in the other room. There are lonely hearts of adults and teens dreaming that they might somehow, someway be special to another. There are children, who have met us before, hoping in their dreams to see us again this season. A land of dreams God is so willing to reach out and fulfill if only we are willing to step out and do what we can to build these baskets…
As the young man continued to espouse why he believed it was so important to dream big, I smiled and said, from the depth of my soul, I truly understood the message he hoped to convey…
“Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.” Joshua 1:2