It’s 1:58am as I type this. I woke up about 5 minutes ago after an awful dream. It seems to apply to me a little. Even so, maybe someone else needs to hear this too.
In this dream, I was in a military unit and had signed up for some kind of tough special training. It was the end of a bone-weary, discouraging day of training, back in the barracks. I had been trying to sleep for a while, but I was thinking, “I can’t take it. This is too tough for me. For all of us. I’m going to fail.” The thought was pure misery.
We were stationed on a peaceful, gently sloping ocean coastline. There was a fairly dense belt of grass, tall enough to hide in, that covered most of the sandy area. I thought, “I want to hide there until my life is over. I can’t take another failure.”
That day, we had found a bald eagle with a broken wing. One of my buddies was trying to repair the wing. The eagle didn’t scream or fight him. I said something to him about how discouraged I was, and something about the grass, because he replied, “Yeah, that’s where a guy would go to commit suicide. They found a suicide note.” One of the unit was missing. I asked, “Did he do it?”
My buddy replied without a trace of emotion, “Yes. That’s where they found him. In the grass.”
I couldn’t stand to think of it, so I started thinking about the eagle. An eagle’s wings are marvels of strength and engineering, and I thought that there was nothing my buddy could do to make that wing work again. A veterinarian maybe, but not some recruit with basic medic training. But my buddy had a burning desire to help, to heal, so he tried.
I guess reveille must have sounded, because we started saddling up again. The eagle perched there looking eagle-fierce and calm with a bandage and covering on the wing. I asked my buddy, “What did you do?”
He replied, “I wired a piece of aluminum onto the wing.”
I thought, “It’ll never work. That eagle’s never going to fly again. Aluminum? In place of those incredible God-engineered bones and muscles? No way.” And we walked out of the barracks.
I can’t recall any dream in my entire life that had any relevance to a specific reality, so maybe this is just so much nonsense. But just in case it was a message, here’s what I draw from it:
In that dream, someone important was missing: GOD! If you don’t want to fail, if you want your life to count for something, you can not leave GOD out of your life. Because this is His world, temporarily under the limited authority of an evil being, the devil. You can’t fight the devil alone, and you had better not ever make any kind of alliance with him. He is a murderer and a liar, and always has been. (John 8:44)
If you’re not a Christian, you have to understand that there is only one way for you to become connected to the only real God:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
There are always going to be those who don’t make it. Some will get into action and fail, and not be able to handle failure. This is true for civilians too. You’re going to get hurt, because you can’t save them all.
Was it your fault? Then here’s where God comes in: He will forgive you. He has the right to forgive you, because He loves every human being, and if your failure resulted in the loss of a life, or an injury, or a failed life, God was hurt, because one of His creations, created specifically in His image, was hurt. So He has the RIGHT to forgive you! Read Mark 2:1-12 “so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Judas betrayed Jesus to the death of the cross. While Jesus was on trial, Peter denied with cursing that he even knew Jesus. Both men bitterly regretted their actions immediately afterward. But Jesus had known what they were going to do, and He had given them the knowledge they needed to deal with their weakness and sin:
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
They had been told ahead of time that they could be forgiven. But Judas refused to accept that he could be forgiven. He hung himself.
Peter was a broken man, but only briefly. He remembered what Jesus had said to him before the betrayal: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Even then, Peter needed reassurance. After the resurrection King Jesus gave it to him. John 21:14-17, a melding of Amplified Version and English Standard Version with a little paraphrasing to make it flow smoothly:
“This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others others do – with total commitment and devotion?’ Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’
A second time Jesus asked him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me with total commitment and devotion?’ Peter replied, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend.’ He said to Peter, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
Jesus then said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend?’
Peter was grieved because this time Jesus said, “Do you love me with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ”
Do you understand the change in Jesus’ question the last time? Peter was still suffering from the guilt of having denied, with cursing, no less, that he even knew Jesus. He didn’t trust himself. So Jesus didn’t press him on the issue of total commitment. What Jesus was essentially saying to Peter was, “OK, I understand that you don’t trust yourself now. But I trust you. Feed my sheep!”
If you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, your sins are forgiven. Don’t stop there. Find out what He created you to do and start doing it. Or keep doing it, if you already are. I strongly recommend that you read a book called “The Great Niche Hunt”, follow the instructions, and you will learn what God created you to do. You may think you know and be wrong. I did. That book is the best I have encountered in my entire life for learning the purpose for which God created you. Then you start talking to Him regularly and ask Him to lead you to the next step. You have a mission – the purpose for which God created you.