Don’t we all wish for the quick alignment of our talents and dreams that the Apostle Paul experienced when he was called by God to go to Macedonia and immediately the plan was set in motion. From the Biblical narrative of Acts, it was just a matter of days between the literal vision (“Come to Macedonia and help us”) and Paul bringing the full weight of his evangelistic gifts to the women outside the city gate of Philippi.

In my life, seeing my talents and dreams line up has felt more like Paul’s desire to go to Spain and preach the gospel where it hadn’t already been announced. For years he tried to make the trip, and he was delayed in every way, including a long imprisonment in Rome.

Like Paul, I’ve known the exhilaration of a divine dream matched perfectly to my talents; I also understand, however, the second-guessing and the disappointment that follows when the dream is delayed or even denied again and again. For me, it wasn’t prison that stood in the way; it was cancer. After a devastating diagnosis and then a recurrence a few months later, my dreams seemed ruined, crushed beneath the foot of disease. No matter how much I wanted to use my talents, I couldn’t see the way forward toward my calling.