Dream: The Sleeping Lion

I used to dream so many dreams.  Or at least, since I hear we dream every night but don’t always remember them, maybe I should say I used to remember my dreams much more.  My dreams were always so bright, vivid, colorful, and God would speak to me in them.  Some were so prophetic in nature it was a little scary.  But the last year or two have been full of dark and silent nights and I’ve wondered what happened to my dreams.

Last night, I dreamed again…

I dreamed I was laying down in a small little space, not terribly sleepy but I was supposed to be in bed.  Suddenly, there was a lion laying next to me.  A huge, beautiful, golden lion.  He was sleeping next to me in this closet-like space but instead of thinking or feeling any sense of danger, it was the most comforting and safe feeling I’ve ever felt.  As I lay there, my arms wrapped around him and I buried my face into his majestic mane.  He was so soft and warm, I lay as close as I could to him and rested so happily in his majestic presence.

In the closeness and safety of the moment, God spoke and I knew the lion was going to wake up.  I knew as soon as he awoke there was going to be judgement on the whole world and all the nations.  I knew this was the moment the Great Tribulation would begin.  I knew it would be so swift and sudden that nobody would expect it.  I knew it would happen all at once.  Everything we’ve ever known to be true about the world was going to change in a moment.

Suddenly, I could hardly contain myself.  The anticipation was so great it filled my soul to the brim and I knew I’d never be able to sleep so long as we were on the precipice of such an event.  I was so awake I knew I’d never be able to sleep now…all I could do was wait for him to wake up and all I could feel was intense…almost unbearable…anticipation.

I got up and sat down next to him with eyes trained on him so expectantly – like I didn’t want to miss a thing.  I wanted to be the first to see his eyes open.  I wanted to be RIGHT THERE with him the moment he awoke.  In my mind I kept thinking, “Wake up!  Wake up!”  I wanted to scream at him to see if he would awake, but I knew the timing was not in my hands.  I only knew it was going to happen suddenly, and that I wanted to be right there and ready when it did.  I could hardly wait.


Suffering for Christ

Suffering“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17

There are two things I’ve noticed when it comes to these verses.  1) I always seem to hear the first part…the “children of God” and “heirs with Christ” part… in Christian teaching.  2)  The second part….the provision of suffering in order for any of the aforementioned statuses to be true…that part doesn’t seem to make it into the sermon.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like an honest portrayal of Christianity for anyone inside or out of the Christian faith to proclaim that we are heirs of Christ while not mentioning the pre-requisite for that status.  It seems more admirable for American churches to focus on and teach what scripture actually says about our position in the Heavenly realm rather that what simply feels good.   I mean, come on, we’re supposed to be the image bearers of Christ and the proclaimers of His truth…not a gimmicky marketing campaign.   Contrary to how the verse is often presented, this portion of scripture in no way indicates that the provision for attaining the status of “children of God” and “heirs with Christ” involves going to church, doing ministry, worship, listening to “Christian” music, dressing “modestly,” or any other rule that church people tend to focus on.  The provision for attaining the status of “children of God” and “heirs with Christ” is one thing….that we suffer with Him…end of verse.

I mean, let that sink in for a minute.  We are heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with him.  Provided that we suffer with Him.  Provided that we suffer with Him.  And….Jesus suffered a lot.  He suffered in a lot of different ways.  He was misunderstood, despised, rejected, lied about, constantly accused of untrue things, betrayed by people who swore to follow him, left alone in his greatest moments of need, and then tortured and killed.  And Scripture tells us to be like him.  To follow in His footsteps, and to suffer with him.  And only if we suffer with Him, are we children of God as He is.

How many of us (myself included at times) in moments of not even real suffering but rather just minor inconveniences, remember that actual suffering is the pre-requisite to being an heir of Christ, and in that knowledge, thank God for it?  I’d venture to say, not many.  I know I certainly forget way too often.  But I read this scripture and get angry at the Americanized churches that conveniently forget to teach that suffering is absolutely the pre-requisite to being an heir of Christ.  That if we aren’t suffering, we aren’t doing something right.  That if we’re totally comfortable in our lives, we’re actually doing something wrong.  And if we’re seeking nothing but comfort and ease, we’re DEFINITELY seeking the wrong things.

It’s a truth that counters both culture and what is often taught from the pulpit.  It’s a mindset that is totally foreign to our current culture and society.  But it IS the truth and reality of Scripture, and I think we need to fully grasp and understand it (and other hard truths like it) before we jump on a bandwagon we don’t honestly know anything about.