Pastor John hiking in Cascade Mountains of Washington
Tomorrow Psalm 27 will be read in worship. Psalm 27 begins with a powerful insight, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” God is a light to our path, but the path can be difficult, strenuous, challenging. We fear what is ahead so we try to make our own way. Our fear leads us a way from God, like a backpacker who leaves the trail for what he thinks is a short-cut, only to discover that he is lost and alone.
That lost, alone person needs to get back on God’s path, but how? The psalmist gives us two hints in how to retrace our steps. In Psalm 27:8 the psalmist writes, “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. When we have gotten off trail and are lost, we need to admit that we are lost and we need God’s direction. To seek God’s face is to seek intimacy with God, to have a direct face-to-face conversation with our creator and savior. This is an action of the heart, more than the mind.
But then the psalmist gives wisdom on how to seek God’s face. In verse 14, Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! This can be difficult in our instant response world. We expect God to immediately answer our requests. Waiting can be so difficult. Lost backpackers are instructed to find a safe place and wait for the rescue team to find them. Their inclination is to go thrashing about in the woods, but that only makes rescue more difficult.
Seek the Lord’s face. Wait on the Lord. Still wise words for us to heed in our daily walk with God.
I better be careful what I ask for. Yesterday during our staff meeting we read Matthew 1:18-25, where Joseph is instructed by an angel in a dream to take the pregnant Mary as his wife. I commented that in our culture, dreams are rarely considered as means by which God speaks to us. So what did I experience last night? I awaken from a vivid dream, wondering what it means.
After last night’s stewardship meeting in which we discussed the progress of our “Crossing the Bridge” emphasis, I dreamed that I was crossing a large bridge in my car. It resembled the large interstate bridge that cross the Mississippi River near Rock Island, IL. I crossed it often in recent years, taking my daughter to college in Galesburg, IL. In my dream as I crossed the bridge, it dipped below the water line, but strong glass barriers kept the water off the road way. A bear and a wolf were crossing the bridge as well. As I neared the far west side of the bridge, I noticed that vehicles were turning around and heading back. I slowed as I neared the end.
A young teenager signaled for me to stop. He told me that the road ahead was blocked and that I would need to wait or turn back. I decided to wait. I got out of my car, which then became my bicycle. I leaned it against the wall and went to explore on foot. As I walked up the road straight ahead, I could see it was blocked by a grand piano, lying on its side. I looked for other routes. There was a small path to the left, but it seemed to small for my car (or bike?). However, there was also a major road to the right and that seemed to be the way to go, but a crowd blocking the exit from the bridge had not yet moved out of the way.
Needless to say, I have been playing/wrestling with this dream all morning. Various interpretations leap into my mind. Certainly part of it is my desire to push ahead quickly with the mission and ministry of Resurrection. I don’t want anything to block our way! Yet I discern the need to be patient, to explore the road ahead. The obvious way may be blocked for the moment, but a new way will be found. Psalm 16:11 You show me the path of life.
Has a dream ever played a role in your journey with God?
Or do you have a different interpretation of my dream?