I usually don't remember dreams. I am sure that I have them, but by morning they are gone. There are some rare exceptions, however. Occasionally I will awaken in the middle of the night and interrupt a dream. I find myself trying to make sense and 'finish' that dream. Will it turn out good, or not so good? How do I get these various people from different places who should not be in the same dream together in a way that is workable? And sometimes it is a church disaster dream and I am desperate to resolve them in a favorable manner.
Last night I had a nightmarish dream, some of which I remember. It is a dream so it makes no real sense. It started with me and someone else (identity unknown) being chased by a mad bull. Someone was instructing the bull to chase us. We used some sort of round concrete barrier to protect ourselves. Then we moved into a demolished old church building (that might come from the movie, Revenant, that I saw Sunday night). We were still being chased, by something else. I either have forgotten that part, for it was not revealed to me. Around and around my partner and I went. At every turn countered. I woke up out of breath, wondering what in the world, and why. I was left only to wonder what it all means. I went back to sleep, content in knowing I won't know and don't need to know.
On our spiritual journey we sometimes encounter things that just don't fit our expectations. They might be outside our experience. They might be counter to our training, or even truths we once held sacred. Our temptation is to try and make some sense of them. And in the process we say things that really don't make sense. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Everything happens for a reason. And it is assumed that God is the originator of that reason. We are left to try and figure out what God was thinking and the age old why me. The truth is, most things happen for a reason. There is cause and effect. However, sometimes that reason is of our own making, stupidity, arrogance, rebellion, disobedience, bad habits, or poor choices to name a few. I believe that God is sometimes left shaking his head, wondering what WE were thinking.
- It is part of the plan. Again, the assumption is that God is the planner. I do believe God has a plan. The Old Testament is the story of God's plan to save mankind through his son and Israel's putting that plan in jeopardy. There is a problem with this as I see it. God's plans are for our good. There are divine consequences when we disobey his laws, but that was not his plan. God never calls us to do things that are wrong. I saw a Facebook post once that said something to the effect that God would never send you a man who is married to someone else. Not going to happen. Some things that happen, happen because. Because we messed up. Or someone else messed up. Because gravity always applies, even when we don't want it to. I am a believer in God as a redeeming God. He takes those terrible, unspeakable things that happen and redeems them for God.
- Why? I, or my loved one, or my neighbor, or whoever, didn't deserve this. I am left to wonder why not? What makes me special that I should somehow avoid the sad and hard events of life. I once heard a sermon when the preacher said, God is under no obligation to rescue me from my poor choices. I would add to that, he is under not obligation to protect me from the things of life, good or bad. Life happens. We get sick, kids get hurt, or worse. Cars break down at the worst time.
I could go one, but I have made my point. And that point is, sometimes in life, just as in dreams, we are not going to resolve all the issues. We might learn a lesson, stupidity is a good teacher. We might see the hand of God in a moment, usually in his bringing the right people at the right time into my life just when I need him. It is not bad to reflect and question, and wonder. And it is not bad once that process is done to simply admit I am human and humans don't know all they what to know. And in the end, I am confident that through it all, God is there, to rescue, to heal, to prepare me for a time when I am the one he sends to help.