Every night, before Emily and I fall asleep, I lean over to her and pray the same prayer for us. It goes like this:
Jesus, I pray that tonight we would get lots of rest and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to serve you. Please guard our apartment tonight and give us dreams from Heaven. Amen.
I pray that every night, hoping and believing that God will answer my prayer to give me dreams that reveal who He is. I just think it’s so cool that God can allow us to grow spiritually even while we’re unconscious, and it just strikes me as a real intimate way for Him to speak. It almost never happens, but I pray for it every night. Well, last night it happened and I’d like to share that dream with you now:
There was a man and a woman who were destitute. They lived in complete poverty and had nothing. One day, while scrounging in the streets, they met and fell in love. Soon enough, the man asked the woman if she would marry him and be his no matter what. She said yes and that day, they were betrothed. The man, grinning from ear to ear, looked at the woman.
“Guess what?” He said. “You don’t have to live this way anymore! You see, I have a very wealthy father, and he has given me a check that will be more than we could ever need. The one stipulation was that I became poor myself until I could find the woman of my dreams… Until I could find you!” He went on to explain that the check was hidden in a safe but dangerous place in the inner city, and the two of them made a plan. The groom would go and retrieve his fortune, while the bride would make her way to the city’s western gate. From there, they would meet and travel together to the west, where they would make a new life for themselves.
Excitedly, the lovers set to work. The groom rushed bravely away, while the bride went back to the alleyway in which she lived and gathered her very few possessions: a shawl to lessen the cold, a small bag af various and sundry things, and most importantly, a picture of her betrothed groom. The one he had given her the day they met. She gathered them all up and was off. A peculiar thing happened on her way to the western gate, however. A great darkness settled over the city. Not the darkness of a normal night, when it is possible for eyes to become adjusted. Rather this was a thick darkness. Darkness with a substance to it. There was no moon. There were no stars. Later, the bride would learn that this was a great eclips but at the time she knew nothing except that the was blinded but must make her way to the western gate. So she groped through the pitch-black, terror seizing her at every blind-footed step and, though the darkness eventually passed, she realized she had made her way to the city’s eastern gate! Though she made her way to the right gate as quickly as possible, she was still a day late to meet her love.
“What can I do?” She tho
ught. “I could wait here for him to come to me, but he may have gone out into the western plains expecting to find me there? But if I go he may be here!” She waited by the gate until the hours became a day and when she still had yet to see her groom, she decided it was time to leave the city and search form him in the West. She would spend years searching, always on the edge of abandoning her hope. Village after village, she would arrive and stay for months or even a year. She never began a life in any of the villages because she was always on the move. She was a shut in and avoided all others, love-sick for her promised husband. Eventually, after years of searching, she sat beneath a tree and wept.
“Hiya Miss.” Came a voice, “What’cha crying for?” It was a small child who was playing in the park that day. Finally given up on her mission to keep to herself, she told the boy her entire story. After all, what harm could a child do?
The boy listened intently to her story, clearly moved in all the appropriate ways. As she finished, the boy said, “I know what you should do. You shouldn’t give up. You should have his picture drawn on you, in your skin if it helps! Just so you’ll remember and not give up.” The woman shook her head.
“It’s no use,” She said. “Besides. I have his picture. It’s right here.” She removed the photograph and showed the boy.
“Hmm…” The boy inspected, and then said, rather innocently: “No. That’s not right at all. He looks kind of like that, but with more wrinkles on his face.”
“You-you know him?” The
woman’s face grew pale. “How do you know him!?”
“Well gee, lady!” The boy laughed. “Everybody knows him. He’s become pretty famous in these parts. Everywhere he goes, he tells people about you and gives them outrageous amounts of money just if they promise to look out for you! Lot of people say he went broke doing that. Want me to take you to him?”
Just as the bride was about to say yes, she felt a moment’s hesitation. If he really is poor once again, then there is no better life for them to look forward to. Everything they had ever dreamed of would be false. The kind of life they had talked about in the West would no longer be a possibility. But then her heart lept within her. Love would always conquer poverty. “As long as I am with him,” she said to herself. “As long as I am with him…”
And just like that, they were off. The boy led her out of the village, through a forrest, into another village and around an alleyway, until they were standing in a street of houses, with a great mansion at the end of the row. “They say he lives on this street.” Said the boy. The two of them began strolling down the street looking in the alleyways. Curiously, they didn’t look like the kinds of alleyways in which a homeless man would live. They were well kept and indeed, this street had the appearance of not having any signs of want. Suddenly the bride heard a great creaking sound as the gate to the beautiful mansion swung open. She looked up and behold! There was her groom, clothed in fine evening wear. Above his beaming smile, his eyes flickered with tears of joy.
The woman ran to her betrothed, who met her with open arms, spun her, kissed her and hugged her. “But… How? They say you’d spent all your money.”
“Dear one.” He smiled. “This is my father’s house. What’s his is mine. I have gone before you to prepare a place for you here. Now come, and share
in my joy!”
And they lived happily ever after.
So, there obviously seems to be a pretty clear gospel message in the story, but as I was writing it down and praying this morning, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that this was intended to be a parable for something more specific, as well as the gospel. I don’t know quite what it is… I think it has to do with the poor. If you have an idea, let me know! Until then, I hope this sweet story blessed you as much as it did me!