Sunday, January 3, 2016

Encouragement and dreams

Today in church, our pastor preached about Gideon.

Sometimes a detail in a sermon catches one's attention more than the main point.

Pastor was talking about how the Lord encouraged Gideon, and he read the part where Gideon and Purah, his servant, sneaked down into the Midianite camp to spy.  Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream.  This man had dreamed that a round loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midianite camp and struck a tent with so much force, it collapsed.

The man and his friend figured it was an omen that God was going to give Gideon and his army victory over the Midianites.  They were scared.  Gideon, hearing the story, drew the same conclusion, but of course he was elated.

Our pastor then remarked that God sometimes encourages us through dreams.  He recounted how his father had died over a year ago, in early November 2014.  His mother had not had a dream about her departed husband until recently, but recently she dreamed that she was in a familiar garden, and he was there, her husband, on the other side of a fence.  She saw his hand on the fence.  He was smiling and happy, and she tried to run to him, but she woke up.  Although she did not reach him in her dream, the dream filled her with peace and joy because she had seen him, and he was happy.

This reminded me that I had a dream myself, the other night.

Isn't it odd how you can have dreams which evaporate so quickly out of your mind, but then random things awaken a memory of what you'd dreamed?  If I'd been paying attention, it might have been a dream that I woke up with on New Year's Day, 1/1/2016.  That seems about right, but I'll never know for sure.

I dreamed about our house on Sugar Pine.  I've been wondering when I would dream about that house, if I would dream about it.  I used to dream about our house on Homeland Road fairly often (after we moved out of it), recurrent dreams about huge unexplored portions of it that we were only just discovering, with lots of bedrooms and bathrooms, but the plumbing was all broken.  I dreamed about Homeland Road so often, it seemed natural to wonder when the dreams about Sugar Pine would begin after our move to Illinois.  Now and then, I would realize that I'd lived here in Illinois for over a year, or over two years, and not had a single dream about the house back on Sugar Pine.

That night (New Year's Eve?) I dreamed about Sugar Pine.  I did not dream about the kitchen, or the family room, or even the front foyer, images that usually come to mind when I think back to that home.  No, I dreamed I was in my bedroom, the master bedroom, but I did not see the bedroom, because I was looking out the bedroom door and down the upstairs hall, which culminated in the kids' bathroom.  Jonny was in that bathroom.  He was about five or six years old, with his hair asunder and his smooth little olive skinned cheeks, dancing around in a big old tee-shirt that hung down about to his knees, and he was running himself a bath.  I could hear the bathwater roaring from the tap, and I could smell the sweet, clean scent of soap.  I kept thinking, "Does he know how to run himself a bath?  Does he know how?"  But for some reason, I felt that it was important to leave him alone and let him do it by himself.

When I awoke, I still lingered in the warm, fragrant, steamy sensation of air floating out the door of a room that held a hot bath.  It took me quite awhile to remember that Jonny is no longer six, cavorting in a floppy tee-shirt.  He no longer takes baths.  He showers.  He is 6'4".  His voice is a deep bass, and he has facial hair.  This was a startling realization as my waking consciousness was restored.

It was one of those dreams where I feel as though it meant something, but I don't know what.

2016.  My main word for the year is restoration.  God restores our souls.  He restores the joy of His salvation.  He restores hope and peace (which were my words last year).  He is in the business of restoring what is broken: fixing, polishing, beautifying things so that they will be able to bring Him glory as they were originally intended to do.

God is a God of restoration, primarily because there is nothing on this earth without need of restoration.

My dreams about the Homeland Road house were about potential restoration.  I saw in the dreams how much potential that house had to become big and beautiful, but I was always utterly daunted by its condition and all that extensive broken plumbing.  In my dream of the Sugar Pine house, the plumbing was fine.  Although I saw the bath through two angled doorways and down a significant hallway, it was a beautiful bath.  The tub was white and sparkling, and the water was hot.  The little boy was ready to get clean.

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