Peace in the Storm

storm cloudsSome people have vivid dreams on a regular basis but I’m not one of them.  Even if I have a dream, I seldom can remember much about it.  However, early in my walk with the Lord, I had three dreams that I have never forgotten.  I believe they were meant to teach me critical lessons.

The first dream is so vivid that I have long wanted to have someone depict it in a charcoal or pencil sketch.

We used to have a willow tree in our front yard.  It was beautiful, with lithe vine-like shoots trailing from the main branches almost to the ground.  In a breeze these shoots would move gracefully, seeming to dance.

In my dream I could see the tree.  There was a storm coming and the clouds were dark and moving like water in a rolling boil.  As the storm neared it became more fierce with the billowing boiling clouds so low the day turned black as night.  The wind picked up and the branches of the tree began to whip wildly like something possessed.   My eyes were drawn to the trunk and I could see below ground.  The roots of the tree were growing through a huge book that said Holy Bible on the cover, like the ones that used to sit on coffee tables.  There was no way to separate the Bible from the roots as they grew not only around the book but into it, twisting and weaving through the thickness even obscuring some of the letters on the title.

Above the ground, there was chaos but the lower trunk and the roots were absolutely still and at peace.  In this dream at the beginning of my walk, the Lord had shown me the importance of scripture and given a picture of our lives when we are rooted and grounded in His Word.

In the second dream I saw destruction coming.  I was living in what appeared to be a multi-storied apartment building.  I could look out my window and see buildings in the distance that were being destroyed.  At first they were far away but as I watched the devastation moved closer.  The buildings seemed to implode as though a destruction crew had planted charges, set them off and the building collapsed upon itself – an implosion.

Somehow I knew that this was a warning from the Lord.  I knew the building where I lived was in the path of destruction and I needed to leave but instead of running for my car and moving to safety I was packing “things”, wrapping each item carefully and putting them in boxes.  It was as though I was watching myself.

It suddenly dawned on me that there was no time and that what I was doing was ridiculous.  I knew even in the dream that God wanted me to understand something important.  What did all these possessions matter when my very life was at stake?  As I was leaving, I asked if I could take two things, my Bible and my guitar.  Don’t know His response, as I woke up.

It has been years since this dream and I don’t remember exactly what I got from it originally except that things are not important.  Looking back, I wonder how I thought I could get to safety in a car, but then dreams are not known for logic.  I know now that He is the only place of safety.  Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.

In the last dream I was caught in a hole and couldn’t get out.  The sides were sandy and when I would try to escape the sand would give and I would slide back into the hole.  People walked by and saw me in the hole.  Some just looked and I got the feeling they thought I deserved to be there.  Others just glanced and walked on and a few even tried unsuccessfully to help.  There was one particular person who had prayed with me when I came to the Lord.  I remember him leaning over and looking at me.  I tried to climb up and reach out for a hand but he just turned and walked away.  I was crushed.  In the dream.  I did not get out of the hole.

I’ve thought about this dream many times. Life is full of deep holes and though people may try to help, the only way to get out and again find freedom is through relationship with God.  Each hole is a chance to learn and to deepen our dependence on Him.

That dream was a precursor to finding and knowing the truth of James 1:2-4,

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. NKJV

I love the clarity of James 1:2-4 in the Message.

 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

The truth is I’ve gotten to the place where I find facing a new trial kind of exciting.  I don’t really want to go through but, over the years, I’ve learned that the rewards far eclipse the trouble.  Through them we learn to trust God knowing He’ll use some facet of our “sandy sided prison”  to minister to circumstances and people we may never even know in ways past our understanding.  When we say yes He builds our faith and trust.  What a God we serve!

I thank Him for these three dreams. What a gift of wisdom He chose to give to a baby Christian.  They truly are a gift that has kept on giving.

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