As a small child I used to have a recurring dream in which I could fly. Eventually I asked my father for some paper and string so that I could make some wings. I was convinced that wings would enable me to fly, but my father knew better and refused to give me paper or string. Fortunately we lived in a bungalow so there was no danger of me jumping out of a bedroom window and injuring myself, with or without wings. I kept nagging my father and until he gave in and supplied paper and string. All attempts to make wings failed miserably and I finally realised that I was not going to be flying to and from school.

From that point on I set my heart on a career as a pilot. I loved visiting the small airport on our island, and when given the task of writing a project in my last year at junior school I chose to write about aircraft. A few years later I embarked on a career as a seafarer! It is good to have dreams and to make plans for the future, but it is wise not to rely on dreams coming true. Just as my father knew that paper wings would not allow me to fly, we have a Father in heaven whose wisdom we do not understand. As a six year old I could not understand what was wrong with my father. Why couldn’t he grasp that all I needed to fly was paper and string, both of which were within his power and ability to give me?

God has infinite power and resources, and sometimes it is difficult for us to understand why he doesn’t dip into His treasure store to answer all our prayers and cause our dreams come true. The truth is that His wisdom is beyond our understanding. Hindsight often reveals small glimpses of God’s wisdom as we consider how or why our lives took a certain path, or why stuff we did not understand happened or did not happen. But there are also times when we are never granted such understanding. We are told that this is where faith comes in. But sometimes faith just does not do justice to the seemingly devastating events that overcome some of our lives. Could these be the times when God is desperate to touch us? Times when the only thing we have left to do is come to God completely empty? Broken, thirsty, hungry, with needs that only our Creator can understand? When our dreams have gone and only God remains?

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbours for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (2 Kings 4:1-7 NIV)