The Horrible Dream
About a year ago I had a dream. It was a dream that I have spoken of only a handful of times since it happened, but I doubt if I’ll ever forget it. I didn’t write about it earlier because it sounds like the type of dream someone would make up for a good illustration… that is not the case here. This dream very much happened, and it very much shook me to my core.
One night, I dreamed that I had just died. As the realization came to me that I was about to be present with the Lord I was utterly terrified. I became keenly aware of my vileness. The weight of my sins felt unbearable. I began to think of just how selfish I was, how arrogant, how cruel. Everything I had done in my life began to flash before my mind. The constant refrain of “oh no, I’ve got to do something about this” passed through my mind, but then I would remember that it was too late. I remember pleading with God, “Please give me another chance, and please forgive me. I was just so ignorant.” I was filled with sheer hopelessness. That word doesn’t even do it justice. I was filled with a wrenching of the soul so palpable that I couldn’t stand it. It was the pain of this hopelessness that shot me awake. It was that pain that made me remember it… even now, a year later- the memory of that feeling unnerves me.
This, however, was just a dream. When I awoke, I was so thankful that I would never feel that way when I actually die. As a Christian, my sins have been forgiven. They still grieve me, no doubt, but I have been made a new creation in Christ. I will be judged according to His righteousness, not my own. For that I am eternally, immeasurably thankful.
But what of the unsaved, is this dream their fate? Again, I do not think so. The unsaved will not be crying out for forgiveness. They will not be heartbroken at having offended their God. Instead, they will be filled with hatred. The hopelessness for sure is their fate. The inability to better their position and yet also being filled with the desire to do so- that will be utterly loathsome. But I suspect they will not grieve their sins. They will instead continue to curse the God they lived at enmity with all their life.
This was the mindset of the “rich man” when he gazed upon Lazarus postmortem. He still regarded Lazarus as his servant, commanding that he be sent out of paradise back to the worrisome world in order to do the rich man’s bidding. The rich man blamed God for not having given him enough information rather than realizing he’d been told all his life about the reality of his coming fate.
So, what lessons, if any can be learned from my dream? The reality of the depravity of sin is certainly one lesson. I never want to permit myself the illusion that my sins do not matter. They are horrible and grievous actions. Sin is destructive to us as individuals, destructive to others and absolutely offensive to our good God. There is no such thing as a “small sin”, our God is so good that even the slightest infraction is unthinkable.
Another lesson from my dream is that I do not wish to feel that way. When I die, I long to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant.” The thing that grieved me the most about my dream of death is that I did not feel as though I would hear those words. Perhaps I’ll never feel that I deserve to hear those words, but I fully commit myself to their pursuit all my days.
Let us each one seek to be good servants of our Lord. Let us each strive to be sinless, and much more- let us each strive to be great in good works! May our lives be devoted to the love of God and the love of others. May we speak up for the ones who need a voice. May we help those in need. May we love abundantly all of our days. A good servant is not merely one that obeys the basic rules. A good servant serves!
Theologically I know my dream was a fiction. However, my prayer is that it serve as an encouragement all of my days for me to forsake sin and seek abundant service to the Lord my God. May you do so as well!