I asked a four-year old today what he dreams about, and he said, “I dream of dragons and baskets and a poker and a arrow!”
Me? I dream of more sleep. And somewhere in there, I miss the magic. No dragons slaying bad guys, no flying away above it all – I get stuck sometimes in the mundane and the day-to-day and forget the glorious adventures that each day can bring. I mean, even today I got a phone call from my supervisor telling me that I worked today when I actually had the day off.
I’ll never forget Dr. Moye, professor of my 17th Century British Lit class, screaming at us, “WHERE’S THE MAGIC?!” as he tried so desperately to embody the voice of John Donne, metaphysical poet of all poets, who was (as best as I remember) so frustrated with a society that was persecuting its own people and creating a veritable massacre of mystery and hope. Where’s the magic, indeed?
Ask a four-year old what he dreams about, and he’ll tell you stories of conquerors and kings. Ask a forty-year old what he dreams about, and he’s likely to tell you about money and fame. While it is true that much knowledge brings pain and that ignorance is often bliss, I think this kid has something to teach us.
The NASB version of the Bible says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Message puts it this way: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
I just finished reading The Autobiography of George Muller (see my review on Goodreads here ). When I was younger, I’d heard the story of how Muller woke up one morning, knowing that his orphans had no breakfast, and told them to set the table and sit down to pray for the meal. Just as they began to pray, someone knocked on the door and left a massive donation of rice for the children.
I’ve seen God work like that. I remember when my family was at language school, preparing for the mission field, and we didn’t have enough money to stay. We prayed and asked for provision, and that week, someone gave my father a check. Other times, as we traveled to share what God was doing on the mission field, people would slip checks into my dad’s hands or shirt pockets – all without being asked. I remember wanting a keyboard for Christmas one year so that I wouldn’t have to lug my teacher’s around, and late one night, someone knocked on the door and said that he was moving to Mexico and couldn’t fit the brand new keyboard in his trailer. God provided.
Just last night, I asked the Lord for something specific. (He likes when we are specific, by the way, just as we like when others are specific with us when we communicate.) Within twelve hours, He provided the means! Within twelve hours.
He is faithful.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14, NASB
Not one of us is completely alone. Not ever. There’s this invisible thread that ties us all together in one way or another, and it’s unbreakable. It might fray, but it’s always there. I see strands of it in my life connected to a painter in Australia, a gardener/worshiper in Kansas City, a writer in West Texas, a social worker in Houston, an art teacher in Western China, a medical student in Honduras, a mom-to-be in Iowa, a media specialist in my city, a First Sergeant in Atlanta, a quilter in an adjacent city, numerous teachers in the Pee Dee of South Carolina, an art therapist in Louisville, an Army Chaplain in Utah, a translator in Guatemala, an internet security specialist in Jersey, a homeschool family in Southern China, a teacher and mom-to-be in my city, a barista in Charlotte, a web developer in Northeastern Georgia, a Harvard student in Ohio – these among so many others. This thread, though it may take on different forms and colors with each connection, links every one of us together, makes us responsible for one another, helps us come alive. Even when relationships shift and change and even end, the tie is still there.
Even more beautiful is the thread that takes on three strands – the Thread that binds brothers and sisters together as one. This Thread bound us together before the beginning of time and will keep us bound until time is no more.
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.
Sometimes she just wants to wash her spiritual eyes out with soap. The things He shows her – the things she knows about others – they’re like tiny pinpricks of light, revealing hidden things, shining into the darkest of hearts. It is not for gossip or gloating, and she knows that. She knows that everything she perceives with the eyes of her heart are to bring her to her knees before the only One who can fix the brokenness she sees. And sometimes she sees things that mirror her own heart. It is in those times when no soap is clean enough to wash it all away. It is in those times when the weight becomes too heavy to bear on her own. It is in those times when only one Word will make the slate clean.
Sometimes she feels like the burden of silently knowing others’ pain is too great to bear. “Take this cup from me”, she says sometimes, and then she realizes that her cry is an echo of Someone who came before her. And His cup was not taken, either. But the same One who opens the eyes of her heart offers her a hand to hold as she walks. This same One calls to her, telling her not just to timidly offer up her burden, but to cast it completely upon Him.
When she said “Yes” to Him, He didn’t offer her sunglasses. He gave her sight.