Friday, August 14, 2009

Dreaming dreams

One of the promises of Pentecost was that those full of the Spirit would dream dreams. Dreaming is part of the spiritual activity and creativity of the human mind and soul. While religious philosophers and fortune tellers attempt to work out methods for interpreting dreams, those who follow Christ are privileged to dream beyond human angst.

Some dreams are fulfilled easily. God gives a vision for what can be, and a match between gifting and circumstances brings the dream to vibrant life.

Other dreams slowly emerge. They are birthed in silence, in waiting, in watching what God is doing. When first dreamed, they may be confusing or obscure, a disconnect with reality, or an impossibility in human terms. They unfold slowly and secretly as God brings them alive.

Sometimes we are sidelined by God's wishes. While I worked on my piano performance degree, I sat out a year in the last row of a Sunday School department. My husband and I co-taught Grade 5 boys, more "where needed" than the best fit. Each Sunday during opening session, as the pianist hacked about in confusion on the simplest children's choruses, my whole being was begging, "Hit a G chord! Oh, please find it!" But God had put me aside that year - we were strangers to the area, and I did not play in public even once. I remember dreaming melodies and chords, my feet waking me as they conducted beat patterns during the night. Music pulsed through my whole body day and night without a ministry outlet. The internal compositions and music structures built that year were crucial when I played challenging venues years later.

Sometimes dreams are not welcomed or invited. We may be sitting in a dark place, waiting to be asked to participate with what we know God can do... while watching others muddle about on something that is a natural and easy fit for us. And they may never ask for help or input, so the dream goes away as the mediocre is accepted as the status quo.

People with limited imagination or control issues may block our dreams, constrict us in their boxes, and limit our capacity to carry out a larger vision. When that happens repeatedly, we may shrink into their smallness temporarily to survive the season. The opportunities we envision and the dreams we dream may be out of reach in that setting. Then our duty is to wait patiently for God's open door into the freedom of the Spirit in full capacity. That may mean going elsewhere.

Sometimes constriction opens us to the new thing we would never have considered in comfort. It forces us into something still to come. The dream does not die. It merely rests until opportunity and time come together.

And some spiritual dreams may never be fulfilled. The combination of who and what and where never arrives: the vision of what could have been fades into nothing or into someone else's future. David dreamed a temple for God, and was told his son would build it. Paul wanted to go to parts of Asia and was diverted to Europe by the Spirit and a new dream.

We take comfort and nurture patience when we remember that dreams birthed by the Spirit belong to God. Dreams are spiritual tasks and worship, part of the flow of the Holy Spirit opening us to his activity in the world. We turn toward God in our dreams, affirming obedience to his work among us, leaving the fulfillment, transience, or mortality of our dreams in his hands.

Read more:

*Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD, you who minister in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name for that is pleasant.

I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. Psalm 135:1-3, 5-7 NIV

*Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NEV

*I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:13, 19-20 NIV

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