I had a late (for me) phone call last night from a very dear friend. She is undergoing a great deal of hardship: her husband died; financial difficulties which have led to foreclosure of her house; living with her 91-year-old mother; and now her daughter is suffering from an illness. She is overwhelmed (as might be expected) in trying to deal with all of this.
Getting news like this around bedtime always seems to impact my dreams. I have found that a lot of things that happen during the day show up in some form when I sleep.
Last night, I dreamt about swords.
I was polishing swords…for what, I don’t know. But I do know that I ran out of polish and then decided that in order to have ‘shiny’ swords, I was going to wrap them up in tinfoil. The subconscious mind is funny. On the surface, this makes no sense but since I happened to remember this dream, I began thinking on it.
Obviously, the key here is not the sword itself which I identified as my reaction to my friend’s problem. (I want to ‘cut’ through them and mow them down so they go away…at least, that is my reaction.)
I know, however, that in reality I can’t erase her problems. So, if I admit that, then the next step is addressing the polish and tinfoil. If you can’t ‘lick’ the problem, then you want to try to FIX it. It stands to reason my dream focused on trying to polish the problem somehow to make it better.
Peter understood this idea. This passionate disciple who betrayed Christ and went on to become one of the foremost leaders of Christianity had plenty of problems to overcome. He understood how suffering shapes humans. He understood that being ‘human’ isn’t for the faint of heart.
1 Peter 4: 1-4-Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
When we are suffering, we tend to become closer to God. We want ANSWERS. We want answers NOW. And the more we spend time and come to God through prayers and Scripture, the more we turn away from our once easily walked ‘human’ actions toward attempting to employ more spiritual ways.
We all have problems.
Christians are not immune from difficulty.
Our only difference is that we have learned to share ours with God and pray for His guidance and strength as we undergo walking through these fires. As a good friend of mine always says: “God’s forging ain’t for sissies!”
I cannot polish away the problems of my friends…all I can do is ask God to help them and pray…..