A Dream About The Wait For The Return Of Jesus Christ
Posted by Job on January 26, 2009
The dream contained two halves. Allow me to say this: before Hollywood turned on me (or at least before I was aware of it) I was a huge fan of the awards shows. Oscars, Grammys, Emmys you name it. So in the first half of the dream, I was either the leader or a decision – maker in an awards show, except that instead of honoring a variety of people in different categories, it was one of the events dedicated to honoring a single person that you see from time to time. So we were tasked with choosing the person to honor with the award and make the centerpoint of attention for the evening. Somehow, a person suggested “Jesus Christ.” It was very controversial. “Was He real?” “Was He worthy of being honored?” (The fight over that issue was bitter.) “Would He appear to receive the award?” (A subject of great debate, but in large part because the people driving that Jesus Christ should not be accepted because He was not real or not worthy were driving the “why bother, He will never show His face anyway” argument were people from the “He is not real” or “He is not worthy” camps took up that argument seemingly as a last resort.)
Somehow, it fell to me to end the controversy. Whether I was running the event, had been chosen to make the decision of the honoree, or was merely needed for a tie – breaking vote I do not recall, but my best guess is that it was the latter. After no small amount of dissembling and nervous equivocation, I nervously stated “Jesus Christ.”
Immediately, part two of the dream began, shifting from my being a part of putting on the awards show to watching it from my living room with my family. We had been watching the show all night to see if this Jesus Christ would actually appear, and as the event had not yet happened and the awards people were presenting the usual opening acts (except that said acts had been dragging along for hours and were beginning to become bothersome and boring), we were busy doing other things … cleaning, eating, talking on the telephone … usual weekend activities as the next day was Monday morning.
Now some children were present, but initially did not know why the particular TV show was on, and as such were ignoring it in favor of playing and such. But once told “we are waiting to see if Jesus Christ shows up and comes on TV to get His award”, playtime, storytime, game time etc. for the kids immediately stopped. Instead, they ran to the television, plopped in front of it, and refused to move, even professing to find the opening acts enjoyable. Myself and the other adults, meanwhile, continued about our “grownup” activities of talking on the telephone, making the house look better for the guests that we were expecting to entertain, and getting a head start on the moneymaking activities for the next week.
Soon, 12:00 AM came by, and I made the decision “well, Jesus Christ is not going to show” within myself, so I stated to the children “anyone ready for bedtime? Tomorrow’s a school day!” The children looked at me as if there was something wrong with me, or as if I was missing something. “What are you talking about? We are waiting to see Jesus!” and went back to what they were doing. I tried it again at 1:00 AM; same result.
Finally at 2:00 AM, bored stiff of all the “opening acts” and very tired from gossiping on the phone, cleaning up for the very important social gathering, and getting ready for work the next week, I stated “look, kids, I know that you all really want to see Jesus, but it is obvious that He is not going to show up. I am very tired, I have work tomorrow and you guys have school, so time to go to bed.” The children replied “what do you mean that Jesus Christ is not going to show up? How could you say such a thing? What makes you say that?” I had no answer, so I let them keep doing what they were doing, and the adults in the house went back to our activities, if only to stay awake and to avoid the endless opening acts on the TV, which still was not boring the children in the least. So we decided to wait the kids out until they fell asleep.
Didn’t happen. 3:00 AM passed, they were still wide awake, full of excitement, full of JOY talking about when Jesus was going to come and how great it would be to see Him. When 4:00 AM came, we adults were exhausted, disgusted, frustrated, stressed out, angry, and for some reason actually afraid. So finally, we told the children “you win.” We stopped trying to put them to bed. A little while after, we also stopped with our activities and sat down beside them on the floor to wait with them for Jesus Christ to appear. It was at that point that the dream ended and I awoke. Until the moment that I awoke, I had no idea that it was a dream. Up until then, I thought that it was 100% real.
Later, I asked my wife to interpret the dream. (She is rather good at such things.) She was in a hurry, but stated that the dream was obvious (to her) and a quick interpretation would be easy (again, to her). She stated that my dream was a modern version of one of “the church awaiting its bridegroom Jesus Christ” stories in the Bible. The first part was the church’s rejecting the world and overcoming resistance from the world to declare Jesus Christ above all else. The second part was about the importance of preparing and waiting expectantly for Jesus Christ, and not letting worldly pursuits distract or hinder you. The children? Childlike faith, complete and total trust without doubt, skepticism, or rationalism … not merely believing but knowing that Jesus Christ’s return is certain, and allowing that knowledge to dominate and control all of your behavior.
Thinking about the children in particular, it came to me: the children, despite their appearance in the dream of being carefree and unburdened with “the hard work” of living life, were the spiritually strong and mature believers in the church. They had not only an interest in spiritual things (the opening acts, which represented the wait for the return of Jesus Christ, and the Christian life that we must lead, including the spiritual works that we must perform) but fully enjoyed them and deeply immersed themselves into it. They enjoyed it so much that they had pleasure in others serving the Lord! For them, there was no question WHETHER Jesus Christ would return. They did not even question WHEN Jesus Christ would return. Instead, they regarded the return of Jesus Christ as a self – evident, self – sufficient fact and allowed it to sustain them in their daily lives.
The adults, despite their appearance of being the responsible hard working organizers that were holding everything together, were spirtually immature. They were burdened and distracted by their worldly pursuits and had no interest in spiritual things, indeed they were repelled by them. They were actually a source of temptation to the more spiritually mature believers, suggesting that Jesus Christ may not actually return, or that there were better and more important things to be doing while waiting for the return of Jesus Christ than spiritual things. And not all of those “better and more important” things were even wholesome, edifying, or beneficial. Living to please others, living for a career or money, and of course the overt explicit sin of gossiping.
What was going on between the spiritually mature Christians (the children) and the carnal Christians (the adults) was actually a type of spiritual struggle. However, the spiritually mature Christians prevailed against the carnal Christians not by their own efforts, but through Jesus Christ, by vigorously and boldly responding to the challenge to Jesus Christ by standing firm and defending Him. So after the spiritually mature Christians won the battle not against the world (for that was part 1!) but against their own spiritually immature believers, the spiritually immature believers joined the mature believers in waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. In that way, the spiritually mature believers took responsibility for training and bringing up in the faith the spiritually immature believers, or at the very least causing the spiritually immature believers to fall in line and quit rebelling and misbehaving. Ironically, it was the heavy burden, the weight and yoke of their worldly and sinful activities that drove the spiritually immature believers to join the spiritually mature ones in fellowship, to decide that sitting down and joining the wait for Jesus Christ, despite its real challenges, was still a lighter yoke than the burden of the worldly rat race.
That left one question, however: why were the children running around and playing initially instead of waiting for Jesus Christ? That was a bit harder for me, but I believe that it was because that no one had told them that the TV show that Jesus Christ where Jesus Christ was expected to appear was on. Meaning: they had not yet been evangelized. They were sinners, but sinning in ignorance. (Contrast with the carnal Christians who choose to be wayward despite fully knowing the truth, which represented the adults, who knew that the TV show, or the wait for the return of Jesus Christ, was on and had been on the entire time.)
But once evangelized, the children immediately went about the business of totally investing themselves in serving and waiting for Jesus Christ, gaining spiritual maturity and a strong faith, and as a result became a judgment against, a pricking and grieving of the consciences by their examples of the adults that had long accepted Jesus Christ, had themselves evangelized the children, but were not living for Jesus Christ – and indeed allowed their faith in His return, His promises, and His faithfulness – to be burdened under the weight of living as barren vines, as fig trees with no figs, as servants that buried their talents. The children actually had to “re – evangelize” the adults in order to bring them back into fellowship and Christian living.
Fascinating that though the dream had two parts, (with the first representing salvation and the second the Christian life as far as best I can deduce) the second part dominated in length and was filled with far more intensity, drama and conflict. Probably a message in that fact too.