One night I had a dream in which I was sitting before a prominent Bible teacher. We were talking about the daily pressures of balancing family, work, and ministry. We discussed the financial pressures of her television ministry, the challenges of managing her staff, and the stress she faced. I looked at the weightiness of her ministry and asked, “How do you do it?”
She walked toward me, looking me straight in the eye. She held up her index finger and middle finger in the shape of “V” and pointed at my eyes, then her own. Drawing a straight line back and forth between her eyes and my own, she said, “This is the most important thing. If you lose this with Christ, you lose everything.”
I woke up. Unlike my usual dreams, I awoke highly alert, the images still vivid in my mind. I moved my right hand using the same gesture I had seen in the dream. The simple motion reminded me of the importance of deep intimacy with God. I lay awake in the humble awe of God’s tremendous love, the words, I love you, fiery alive in my heart.
Why did God choose to reveal himself to me that night in a dream? And why did the dream feature a prominent teacher? Maybe I had glossed over the passages that had delivered the same message. Maybe I had responded too flippantly to my husband’s urgings, “Did you spend time with God this morning?” Maybe I had ignored the passages, the signs, the promptings. Maybe it had been too long since I had experienced God’s love. Whatever the cause, God designed a dream to get my attention.
More and more I’m discovering that God doesn’t want me just to know about his love but to experience it. We do not serve a God who is far off, but one who is near and reveals himself and his love in tangible ways. Throughout the Bible we see God using all types of encounters to reveal himself. It’s all too easy to read Scripture as a series of stories, bypassing the truth that these were genuine people having authentic encounters with God.
When God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, thousands of people felt squishy mud between their toes. When a group of wise men became mesmerized by a heavenly beauty in the sky, they followed its light and discovered the Son of God. When Jesus said, “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest,” he and his followers were actually smelling gluten-filled fields of grain. When Peter walked the sea, he felt water as an unfrozen solid for a brief moment. The adventures of Jesus are not merely story; they are experiential.
God invites us to experience him and his love. That is not just an idea or an argument. That’s not just the basis for an article to file in the drawer next to my desk. It’s a present reality. Though many days I still feel like I am flying in the dark in regards to my relationship with God, I’m grateful that on occasion glimmers of light and echoes of God’s persistent voice remind my heart that his love is real.
I love you is just the beginning of an awakening.
Copyright © 2008 by Margaret Feinberg, Used with Permission, Published by Zondervan. Adapted from The Sacred Echo.[schemaapprating]