“You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love.” – Revelation 2: 3-4
I dream a lot, although most of my dreams are forgotten before I get out of bed. But occasionally a dream is so vivid and hits so close to home that I know the Lord is telling me something, and I need to pay attention.
Dreams are not meant to reveal new theological truths; we have all the theology we need in the Bible. But when I have one of those significant dreams, it is a revelation that applies Scripture to me personally at that particular time in my life. God has used such dreams to encourage me, instruct me, rebuke me, or warn me. Jesus has appeared in my dreams in different roles, such as the Surgeon who was about to give me a heart transplant, or my Commanding Officer, reminding me to put on all of my armor before the coming battle. One dream stands out in my mind as one that I will never forget – nor should I. It cut me to the heart.
In my dream I was with my youngest child, our daughter Kelly, who was about seven at the time. My husband, for some reason, was in hiding, and Kelly and I were about to have a secret meeting with him. I had a basket with some beautiful purple fruit, which I was bringing him as a special treat, a token of my love and devotion. We were excited to see him and give him the gift, but on our way we kept running into people.
“What beautiful fruit!” a lady exclaimed, her eyes huge with amazement. “It looks delicious!”
“Have some!” I replied without hesitation, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Kelly give me a look as if to say, “Mom, what are you doing?!” But I had always had a reputation for being generous, and hey, I was just being nice to this acquaintance. As I held out the basket to her, she took the biggest piece of fruit, leaving just two remaining. With a quick, “Thanks!” she took a big bite and was gone in an instant.
I arranged the two remaining pieces, but there aren’t many ways to arrange two pieces of fruit. We had barely started out again when someone else commented on how gorgeous the fruit was. I immediately offered this person a piece, too, which he took without a “Thank you,” and he was gone. This time Kelly looked horrified, and I felt a little guilty. But this person had looked so hungry, I would have felt guilty saying “No.” With one piece of fruit left, we started again to make our way to my husband’s hiding place.
This time several people saw us, and it was so obvious that they wanted my fruit that I started to break the remaining piece into fragments, which I doled out to these strangers, who disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.
With one mangled fragment of fruit left, I tried unsuccessfully to set it at an angle that made it look appealing, and said with exaggerated enthusiasm, “Come on, Kelly, let’s go give this to Daddy!” But my voice was so shaky that I wasn’t even convincing myself. Kelly, looking thoroughly disgusted, turned and walked away without a word, wanting nothing to do with my pathetic “gift.”
The phone interrupted the dream, and I answered it before I was completely awake. I recognized the voice at the other end as that of the secretary at my children’s school, and she sounded desperate. A teacher had called in sick, and she asked if I could possibly come in and sub. Still groggy, I mentally checked my calendar and guessed that I had no appointments that day.
“I don’t think I had any plans … sure,” I responded.
The secretary sounded relieved as she gushed her thanks, and for a brief moment I basked in her gratitude before she hung up to get back to other school business.
It was only then that I remembered the dream, and at the same time I remembered that I had made plans for that day! When I had realized that the day was wide open, I had decided that I would spend that day in prayer, Bible reading, singing, worshiping, journaling – other words, just spending unhurried time with Jesus. I think He had been looking forward to it as much as I had. But I had just impulsively committed the whole day elsewhere, and now I had to hit the floor running. I felt as though I had given away the biggest, best piece of fruit to someone for whom it has not been intended, and I felt ashamed.
The sting of shame intensified when I remembered the kind of fruit I had been so casually giving away in my dream…
It was passion fruit.
I broke down and sobbed.