Today's scripture reading leads me to give thanks to the Lord for all His mighty deeds and wondrous works...
I give thanks to the Lord for His Presence in my life each and every day. Even during the night seasons He is with me. I experienced this in particular during the night just before dawn today. I was having a dream about a childhood/school friend, who passed away over thirty years ago. In the years since this friend died I have struggled with his untimely death, primarily because I was not certain in my heart whether or not he was actually in heaven. (I wrote about this on one of our "Random Journal Days" here...). I'm not sure why he came to my mind again in my dreams at this time. Perhaps because I was reminded of him last weekend when I visited the church youth camp where we both attended as teens, and then today I was going to go to a funeral at the church we attended for the wife of our former pastor that we both loved. In my dream he seemed to be sad that no one had ever really loved him here on earth. I found myself cradling him like a little child, and rocking him back and forth and telling him that he is loved, and that he is loved with an everlasting love.
This dream was very troubling to me, and I shared it with my husband when I woke up because I just couldn't shake it. I told him that this dream seemed so very real, like I was actually talking to my friend, and then when I woke up I realized that I couldn't be talking to him because he is dead. My husband, wise pastor/counselor that he is, said something that brought great comfort to me and settled this quandary for me once and for all. He said, "Remember what Jesus said to the Sadducees concerning the Resurrection,
"But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him." Luke 20:37-38 "This may not make any sense to you...but it made perfect sense to me...because I realized then that my friend really isn't "dead". It was a comfort to me to finally put it to rest...it was as though God's presence was reaching through my dream...and then my husband, to assure me that my friend is alive and well...in heaven. My doubts about his salvation were because his life took a wrong turn as an adult, at least in my mind, but as I looked back over our childhood experiences together in church, youth camp, I realized that first of all, I am not the judge of whether or not a person is "fit" for heaven...that is God's business, and that sometimes things happen in people's lives that hurt them so deeply that they wander away from the fold of God, thinking that no one could possibly love them. That doesn't necessarily mean that God no longer loves them, or that He stops reaching out to them. Actually... God goes out and searches for that one lost sheep...and brings him back safely to the fold. Listen to this wonderful old song.The Ninety and Nine...which tells the story of how much God loves His wandering children. (You can read more about this story in Luke 15:3-7)
|I keep this picture in my Bible to remind|
me that Jesus always watches over His sheep, and
He will seek and recover the one lamb who goes astray.
This whole story may be more than you really care to read about...and you may think I've gone off my rocker talking to people in my dreams, etc. Sorry if you feel that way. I'm here to say that God works in mysterious ways to bring comfort and closure to His children. For me it was a dream. For you it may be something totally different. You see, as I quoted earlier, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living..." Why? Because He lives!