Brandon & TazEarlier this year, I shared a word for 2016. It came from the writings of Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker. It was a word that I had printed out on a piece of stock paper and placed on my desk in my study at home as a constant reminder.

It involved four short simple statements – DREAM BIG, PRAY HARD, WAIT ON HIS TIMING and EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

Recently, I heard a testimony of how this came true in the life of a young man, Brandon Bartholomew, a member of our congregation at Church on the Hill. Brandon is a police officer in the Minneapolis Police Force. Until recently, he was stationed in the North Minneapolis Precint and was right in the middle of the Black Lives Matters demonstrations last year concerning an African American man who was shot by police while resisting arrest. The county prosecutor decided not to charge the policemen involved in the incident, but it is still a hot butter issue in the community. Brandon actually grew up in the North Minneapolis area and knows the community well. His wife Jessica was also a police officer and now retired, she is heading up a small group in our church called A.C.T. United, which is active in the battle against sex trafficking.

Brandon always had a big dream. When he was about ten years old, he had the dream of becoming a K9 officer in the police force. He even had a name picked out for his future dog – Taz Brandon, living in North Minneapolis, had seen K9 officers chase suspects through his yard when he was a child and thought that it was ‘cool.’

As he progressed through life he eventually became a police officer with the City of Minneapolis, but the desire to be a K-9 officer was still there. He had not lost the dream that he had had since he was a young boy. He applied for the position in the K-9 unit each time a slot opened up. The first two times he applied, he did not even get an interview, because of certain criteria set by the police department. But Brandon still kept dreaming.

The third time he applied, he got an interview for the position. This was a step closer and he was excited at the possibility of his dream coming to life. However, the interviewers sent him an email, thanking him for his interest in the position, but informing him that they had selected two other candidates for the open spots in the K-9 unit.

Brandon became discouraged, frustrated and even angry that the dream was not coming to pass. He wondered if God would ever bring this dream to reality. This was something he needed to overcome so he could begin again to pray and believe God that his dream would come to pass.

Brandon continued to pray, believing that the dream of being a K-9 officer was from the Lord. As he continued to pray for open doors, he was joined by several other people within our church. I too prayed with him. I shared a word with him, ‘I believed that he would not get the K-9 spot until he began praying for others, specifically for his partners in the police force that he was currently working with.’ Out of obedience, Brandon began praying for them daily. However, after praying for them for a while, he found that he moved from praying for them out of obedience to the place where he was praying for them because he really wanted to pray for them.

Brandon continued waiting on the Lord. Waiting is one of the hardest things to do. It requires patience, faith and perseverance. Waiting is when our faith is tested. Hebrews 10:36 declares, ‘For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.’ That is what Brandon had to do. Endure, keep on praying and continue believing until he received the promise.
Brandon remarked that ‘waiting on the Lord’s timing can be one of the hardest things to do, but it showed me that waiting for His timing is always the right answer, even if that means waiting for several years.’

About a year after Brandon started praying faithfully for his fellow officers, he was unexpectedly informed that he had been given one of the K-9 positions. He phoned me, as I was in a Leader’s Meeting in our home, to tell me the news. When he met with the K-9 trainer to begin his training, the trainer asked him if he wanted to rename the dog. The dog, who originally came from Holland, had already had been given a name. Brandon immediately told the trainer that he had a name already picked out – Taz, the name that he had held on to from the time he was about ten years old. The trainer replied, ‘His new name is Taz!’

So, Brandon brought Taz home and the dream he had became a reality! He is now training with Taz and loving it. I had the joy of visiting Brandon at home and meeting Taz and rejoicing with him that he dreamed big. He prayed hard. He waited on the Lord’s timing and he expected the unexpected. The dream became a reality.

Have you a dream yet to come about? A prayer that has not yet been answered? A promise that has not yet been fulfilled or a prophecy yet to be manifested? Don’t give up! Keep pressing on in faith, for at the right time, God will move, often in unexpected ways, and you will see your dream become a reality!

Remember, as I always say, ‘The best if yet to be!’

P.S. I would love to hear any of your stories about Dream, Pray, Wait and Expect.