Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Dream

My dreams are usually nonsense. They have little to do with reality. At the time they seem rational, but when I wake up and think about them I often laugh at how silly they really are. There are some dreams that feel like dreams, and some dreams that feel very real. On some occasions I have woken up from dreams and had to think about whether or not what just happened was real or not. I had one of those dreams this week. It was a terrible dream.

There wasn't much to the dream, no real plot or story that happened. In real time, I suppose the events that happened in my dream would have all happened in about 30 seconds. But I was riding my bike up a trail with someone else (who I can't remember), and my daughter was riding behind me. I remember thinking I needed to stay between her and the edge of the trail because she could fall. For some reason I got slightly in front of her as we pulled up to stop. At that point I turned around to see her steering her bike in the direction of the edge. I yelled for her to stop (though she didn't have much control of her bike) and reached to grab her. I touched her, but wasn't able to grab her. At that point she fell. I had this vivid picture of her falling down a sheer cliff - hundreds of feet below. It was absolutely horrifying. I screamed in my dream "NOOOOOO!!!" But there was nothing I could do.

I immediately woke from the dream and was eternally grateful that it was just a dream. My daughter was in the bed with us, and I just threw my arms around her and kissed her as she laid there asleep. I couldn't shake that dream all day yesterday, and it still haunts me now. My wife and I talked about it a bit last night. We realized that we both share these fears that something terrible could happen to one of us, or to our children. To be honest it's a fear that I have carried for some time. The thing about that moment in the dream when my daughter fell - there was such an overwhelming feeling of loss and helplessness. I felt as though I could have stopped it from happening but now there was nothing I could do about it. I think that's a fear I carry as a man. I'm wired to want to provide and protect. When I am unable to do that I feel incredibly helpless. So whether it's my wife being sick, or simply being uncomfortable from pregnancy, or the bills piling up and feeling like there isn't any money to simply enjoy life with, I hate feeling like I'm not in control. I hate feeling like life is happening and there's just not anything I can do about it.

That's where obedience to God is tough for me. I really want the assurance that if I do what he wants me to do - that he will take care of me and the ones that I love. I want to know that life just works if you do x, y, and z. Unfortunately God doesn't give us that assurance. I mean there are kids I know who have lost parents recently. There are parents who have lost babies. How do we make sense of this? How would I make sense of this in my own life? A deeper personal question is what does this fear reveal about me? Why do I need control? Why do I need this kind of assurance? Why should I be immune from this kind of thing happening to me? I realize that I am still far from having the kind of faith that I read about in the Bible. The story of Job baffles me. How can a man respond the way Job did to his whole family being taken from him? "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away - blessed be the name of the Lord."

If I'm totally honest - I never want to have to demonstrate that kind of faith. I don't want to be the one who has that testimony. I don't want to experience that. I'm sure that reveals something about me, an area of my life that is still not under the lordship of Christ. I also wonder if it reveals a certain view of God that I have that may not be true. I sometimes feel like if I tell God that I don't want something to happen, that it will therefore happen. It's almost like he is going to do the very thing that I pray he won't. That doesn't sound like a good, loving, gracious God. Why do I have that view of Him at times? I totally view God as a God of love and grace and mercy, and yet in my own life I sometimes think of him as though he is a vindictive, irrational, mean-spirited Being. I realize the inconsistency. It's almost as though I know what is true, but in the back of my mind there's that "what if" question.

It just occurred to me that I have completely left out a serious player in all of this. Satan. I'm not one of those people that blame things on "the devil." I've heard people say that pretty much everything bad that happens is because of the devil, or Satan is trying to tear them down. I never do that. But I do think that when it comes to one's view of God, particularly in how he interacts and deals with me as an individual - it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Satan is trying to skew that. He would definitely love to get in my head and change the way that I think about God. He would love it to make me not trust this God. He would love it if I start to doubt his love for me, or his grace toward me.

At any rate, I don't really know if I'm coming to any conclusions here. I just needed to get that out and process my own thoughts really. I feel better though. I do know that I have a God that loves me, and he loves the ones that I love too. He loves them more than I possibly can. He wants good things for me as well and he is a good God. In the Psalms we often hear David begging God to rescue him from those that wish him harm. I wonder if David had some of the same fears I do? But he does this regulary, and yet he always concludes that God is good. Sounds like a good way to conclude this random rant as well - God is good.


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