“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’ ” Luke 9:62
More often than not, I don’t remember my dreams. I wake up with a vague sense that I have dreamed something, but I usually can’t recall it, and that’s OK. Later in the morning, as I am giving my mind to God for the day, I will ask Him to help me forget what ought to be forgotten, and remember what I need to remember, including dreams. Sometimes as I pray that prayer, a dream will come back to me, and I immediately know what it was saying to me.
A couple of months ago I had a dream that I remembered the moment I woke up, and to this day it has had an effect on the way I view my faith and my calling.
We had experienced some storms over the summer that had knocked out the power and had toppled some trees. Limbs in the road were starting to be a familiar sight. So, the dream that I had that one night was so vivid that it seemed even more real than the average dream.
In my dream, my friend Bre and I had walked to the end of the pier near our house. The waves of Lake Michigan were splashing against the base of the lighthouse, and we could see dark clouds approaching from the North. As the wind picked up and started whipping our hair and clothes around, I started to wonder how much longer we should stay on the pier. At that moment Bre and I said simultaneously, “We’d better get back.”
When we looked behind us, the waves were washing over the pier in depths between 4 and 12 inches at any given moment. The pier looked slippery and treacherous, and there were no railings to hold onto.
As the waves got bigger and the wind stronger, we realized it was highly unlikely that we could walk back to the shore.
And then I saw the shore.
Dozens of large trees had fallen, their tangled limbs forming an impenetrable hedge all along the shoreline.
I was thinking we’d need to call a friend with a boat, or even the Coast Guard, but Bre and I realized that neither of us had a cell phone, and that the only chance of survival was to hang onto the lighthouse. At that point getting home before the storm was over had about 0% chance of success.
The gravity of our situation was just beginning to sink in, and I woke up before it turned into a full-blown panic attack. As I lay in the dark, realizing this dream wasn’t dissolving into the night like most of my dreams, I pondered its meaning.
Bre and I were at the end of the pier. What else is at the end of a pier?
What does a lighthouse do?
It shines a light in the darkness. It prevents shipwrecks by warning of impending danger, and it guides ships from the storms of life into a safe harbor.
Bre and I have some things in common, but the most important thing we share is our faith in Christ. As Christ-followers, it’s our duty to shine His light into the darkness, to warn people of the disaster that awaits if they keep going their own way and do not heed His Word, and to guide others to the safe harbor of His love. (I know, Cliche City here. Sorry.)
But I saw something else in my dream about being “between a rock and a hard place.” As difficult as it was to stay out there in the storm, just hanging onto (being?) the lighthouse, it would be much harder, even fatal, trying to go back where we came from. Clearly there was no going back.
I was sharing this dream with my friend Kelly, and she said, “But I know people who have gone back. They have renounced Jesus and no longer follow Him.” (How tragic!)
I replied, “Well, then this dream was saying that for me, there’s no going back.”
A few days later I received a text message from another friend, one I had seen on a trip back to my old home town. The text said how good it was to spend time with me again, and it closed with the statement, “You are a lighthouse.”
I had never been called that before, but I thought with a wry smile, Yeah, I know…
Has God called you to do something important for His kingdom? (If you profess to believe in Him, your answer had better be “Yes!”) Is it getting harder and harder? Are there storms? Have you thought that life was easier before you made a commitment to Christ? Are you tempted to go back?
Don’t even think about it.