When God Calls The Heart: Devotions From Hope Valley

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Dream Big…Expect Surprises

“I can do this. We can do whatever God calls us to do—with His help.” –Elizabeth Thatcher

Elizabeth Thatcher beamed as she watched the passing beauty of the countryside out the window of her stage coach west. She had big dreams for her future. She couldn’t wait to get to her new classroom in Coal Valley and to meet her new students. Elizabeth knew she would have to make some adjustments from her life of privilege back home in the big city, but she planned to face this adventure with courage and dignity. 

Lost in her thoughts, she visualized the Coal Valley towns­people welcoming her with excitement, and the children waiting eagerly in their seats in the schoolhouse. The day couldn’t get here soon enough. 

But in that way that dreams sometimes unravel like yarn from a knitting needle, it didn’t happen exactly like that. Elizabeth didn’t envision a band of thieves waiting around the next bend for her. She didn’t realize they would rob her of everything she had brought west. And instead of her trium­phant entry into Coal Valley, she arrived limping, dirty, and bedraggled, hitching a ride in the back of a wagon. The thieves had stolen her dignity as well as her belongings. 

Her welcome to Coal Valley wasn’t what she’d imagined either. Instead of open arms and excitement, she was greeted with looks of skepticism and comments of derision. Coal Valley was no place for a princess. This was a hard luck town beset by tragedy—a coal mine accident that resulted in many of the children becoming fatherless, and a church fire that left the saloon as the only place to hold school. 

And Elizabeth soon discovered that she wasn’t prepared for the primitive living conditions in Coal Valley. An out­house and wood-burning stove in the little teacherage she was meant to live in would mean an uncomfortable new lifestyle. None of it was what she’d expected when she set out to fulfill the big dreams God had put on her heart. 

It’s that way for all of us, isn’t it? Do you have a big dream for your life? A giant goal? A worthy aspiration? Perhaps even something you believe God is calling you to do? It’s all very exciting as you begin the journey—but it’s easy to forget that life can sometimes derail your dreams or delay your timelines. 

As Elizabeth learned, people can discourage us and cir­cumstances can temporarily defeat us, but God never wants us to give up on the dreams He has for us. There is no such thing as being uncalled. We don’t get to un-ring that bell— even when the world puts thieves and outhouses in our path. 

Persistence always beats resistance.