A Frightening Prospect
I don’t know about the rest of you but I know that science tells us that we all dream every night and in my 56 years here on earth I am sure that is what has happened within the realm of my sleep cycle as well. The biggest question though is this? Out of all the dreams we dream, can we remember but a very few? I know that I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night much less my dreams. Sometimes I have had dreams that were personal but could not remember upon waking anything but a few choice bits of information, then when regaling my wife with my dream very often can’t put any of it back together in any cohesive way. I feel like a madman trying to explain why there is air. They come and they go, night in and night out, like sudden storms come in and leave a few bits in their wake and they are gone. Such is my history of dreams. This night, however would be different because for the first time in my life, God reached in to my psyche and gave me a dream that was so vivid and memorable that I know that I will carry its contents to heaven with me. At some point in REM I began to dream:
I am hearing voices, voices from my past and in fact voices so crystal clear that I think I am actually there participating in the story unfolding. I hear my mom and step-father and they are fighting again and she is about to be beat again. I can feel the tension building in me and I am in pain over it all, then there is another scene from my past and that is when it hits me. I am hearing these voices and seeing what is going on in my mind like some sort of all-encompassing TV screen that is showing me my life in total, everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly, the pain and hurt and sorrow. With every scene I am feeling the emotions I had when those things happened but they are stronger by a thousand percent and I come to the sad realization that I am seeing this in my mind because I am dead. I cannot move, I cannot speak or open my lifeless eyes because I am stone cold gone. Yet I am alive emotionally and I feel that which I never felt before and the intensity of these emotions is so great that I am in physical pain. When the pain that I did experience while alive does come, it feels like the worst pain imaginable. I can’t cry and there is no solace but only the constant play of my life over and over again. Then in another corner of this huge picture in my mind I see names scrolling vertically and I am reading the names and they are the names of all the people in my life that I had met, all the people in my life who were close to me and even acquaintances that were in my life for a season. As the names scroll past a voice comes to me and tells me “you didn’t make it!” I am seeing in my life’s story all the events, all the people, all the choices and it dawns on me after I see Pastor Burkey’s name pass me and Don Schoff’s name and others who influenced my life to make decisions for Christ, that Jesus was NOT on my list.
I am in HELL and that thought comes into my mind like a brick smashing into a plate-glass window. That is what he meant when he said I didn’t make it. I was dead all right but out of the body present with the Lord right? Not me, I was a christian wasn’t I? I had the golden ticket, I said the words and I believed, didn’t I? How could I not have made it as the voice told me? The onslaught of emotions came again and now I was in agony. I realized that my eternity was this, the constant playing and replaying of my life over and over again with no breaks, no respite, no END to the torment that I was going through. Sadly all I saw was a nominal man living a nominal life and never fully trusting God for anything. I had intellectual assent but nothing from the heart and now after having all those chances to make decisions for Christ and the Kingdom I was doomed to an eternity without him. My Lord had died for me and taken all my sins on his back at Calvary, everything I had ever done or even thought of doing and I never fully put my trust in him. I wanted to cry out and couldn’t. I wanted to scream and couldn’t, I wanted to tell God how sorry I was for taking his grace for granted and I couldn’t. I had made my decision in life. A decision to have a casual relationship with the almighty and I was shown that my Father didn’t do casual relationships. In my agony I now knew what “all or nothing” really means. I longed for Jesus and his comfort and I could not feel it. I only felt the emptiness and sorrow without end that comes from taking for granted all that God had given me.
The voice came back to me and said – “did you really think my son’s death would be so cheap?” I knew then that God was speaking to me and I knew at my core that it would be the last time for all eternity that I would hear his voice. Words cannot express how much pain I was in and how much I wanted to speak to yell to scream NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Mercifully, I awoke, and as I came to consciousness, I saw my alarm clock and my the light on my bedstand and realized with a start that I was in my bedroom. I immediately fell to my knees and just cried out “I am so sorry Lord I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know, I am so sorry for everything.” I kept trying to get lower and lower and if I could have I would have gotten under the very floorboards because at that moment I was in front of a merciful, Holy and Loving God and I knew it. I was a filthy sinner in front of a Holy God. I never thought that I was taking Him for granted but that is what I had done and God showed me how very much he cares about me that night. He let me know how much He really loves me and loves all of us with a love that we cannot fathom this side of Heaven.
My wife was yelling at me, “Andrew what is it? What is going on? are you all right?” I replied ” you wouldn’t understand, you wouldn’t understand,” as I buried myself into the floor. I was crying so hard, tears of relief, tears of life, tears of joy. I went back to sleep after that and slept in a way that I will never sleep again, comforted in my Father’s arms and resting in the knowledge that I was loved.