For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Like Those Who Dream
God’s dream, Christ’s dream, and the children of God’s dream.
Reading: Psalm 126.
As part of a group of men who serve the Lord, we are also part of those great dreamers that God has in these times. Dreamers of Christ, with Christ and for Christ.
Our dreams began a long time ago. Some arrived at the beginning, others later, and we have pressed onward in our service to the Lord; but all with the same dream: that the Lord Jesus Christ would reign, that all believers would end up being one, and that we would truly conform to the body of Christ here on the earth. We have dreamt of that, and we are dreaming, and in these days it seems that the dream has become greater still.
We wanted to speak about God’s dreams and our dreams.
We have paraphrased Psalm 126 –which was first a prayer and then later became a song among the captives in Babylon–, to bring it closer to our contemporary words. The paraphrase of this restoration song says:
“Oh, it would be like a dream of happiness to wake up,
if the Lord would bring us from the captivity of Zion!
Oh, how we will laugh that day!
Oh, how our mouths will bring forth Hallelujahs!
Oh, how until the nations that surround us
will rejoice with us!
Oh, how we will sing to our descendants
the marvels that the Lord performed with us!
great things has the Lord done with us!
Oh, what happiness, what joy, what glory!
Oh, Lord, look at our grand dream,
and listen to the pleas of your people!
Oh, Lord, make us return from our captivity!
As the secret streams flow
from the desert of the Negev,
that is our dream.
Oh, as some sow with tears,
So they will reap the harvest,
and in spite of yesterday’s tears,
we will return bringing beautiful sheaves!
Oh, Lord, crystallize this liberal dream,
return us to Zion,
and make the joy of sheaves abundant
make us forget the suffering of captivity!
Oh, Lord, it will be a happy awakening,
and we will return to your freedom!
God’s supreme dream is to sum up all things in Christ. And the dream of the believers, of those who love the Lord, is to enjoy Christ’s fullness. We won’t conform with less than that. For that reason, we are dreamers, we are the biggest dreamers in the land.
The dream of the captives
For the captives in Babylon, the dream was, some day, to return to the land of their fathers. In that land were those mountains, those valleys, the tombs of their fathers. In that land were so many shattered hopes. Because when the captivity came, everything was ruined.
Almost seventy years had lapsed from those distant days of the deportation to Babylon! The old men still cry for Zion. They left when they were fifteen or twenty years old. And seventy years had gone by. Many of them died in exile.
Some grandmothers remained who, in the nights, spoke to their grandsons who were born in captivity. A new generation. They had adopted their oppressors’ customs. The distant land of Palestine was a story to them. And the grandmothers used to describe to them the beauty of the hills, the beauty of the valleys, the treasure of the temple that was in Jerusalem, the Jordan with its meandering course. They spoke to them of the feats of David, they told them of Solomon’s greatness and of how the people ended up converting to idolatry, until being taken to captivity. The glory that Jerusalem once had was no longer there. The temple; ruined, the holy city; desolate.
When it was time to go to sleep, they made them repeat this prayer of restoring nostalgia:
– Child, I want you to learn this prayer.
And the boy looked at his grandmother without understanding a great deal. She told him:
– “When Jehovah brought back the captives to Zion...”
And the boy, instead of repeating, asked:
– What’s captivity? What is Zion? Who is Jehovah?
How many of us here learned how to know God when we were two or three years old! They taught us “Our Father,” just as these grandmothers repeated to their small grandsons:
– Repeat after me, child: “When Jehovah brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed...”
– What is dreaming, grandma?
She had to explain it to him. Each sentence was like discovering a reality that the boy couldn’t comprehend. And she, with tears in her eyes, followed the sentence:
– “Then our mouth filled with laughter...”
And he repeated:
– Then our mouth filled with laughter.
– “our tongues with songs of joy...”
– our tongues with songs of joy.
And the prayer finished this way, and the boy fell asleep. And that grandmother of more than eighty years of age, who left when she was a young girl together with her parents, remembered her father sat down under the willows together with the other Jews, and tried unsuccessfully to intone the songs that they sang in Jerusalem.
“By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat down, and even wept,
when we remembered Zion...”
Then she – who was teaching her grandson to know Jehovah, and spoke to him of the future recovery of Zion, while they were there in captivity– wept, because she remembered how her father had one day said: “I won’t sing any more, I will hang up my harp. I will stop dreaming, because I will never return to my land.” Some never returned...
Whoever has been forced to leave their land will understand what happened in the hearts of the Hebrew people. They fell asleep in this way, to dream of the land of their grandparents, to wake up the following morning in the same situation of exile. It was such a long dream, such a remote hope, an ideal that was impossible to be formed! It was only a dream!
Begin to dream
Oh, brothers and sisters, may those that have never dreamt in Christ, begin to dream today. And those that continue dreaming, do it with more hope, with more certainty and more consecration. To those that have stopped dreaming, I invite you to recover your dreams in Christ, so that in your life that testimony, Christ’s reality, arises again and leaves the captivity that you have had in the heart for some time.
If we are to dream today, we want to do it on the firm base of a revelation, and not to dream –as the prophet Isaiah says– like one who is hungry and dreams and beholds that he has eaten, but when he wakes up his stomach is empty; or like the one who is thirsty, and dreams, and beholds that he drinks, but when he wakes up he is found faint and thirsty. No, we want to dream of the Lord, with His House, with His work, with fellowship, with His purposes, with His will. And we don’t want to remain empty; we want to be filled with the Lord Jesus.
Oh would our dream– that which we won’t give up, because in Christ everything is possible– allow us to see through faith that which otherwise is only an illusion! I know that believers are not illusionary, we are not utopian. The hearts that have been restored can give testimony that restoration is possible in the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, may this day be the rebirth of dreaming once again, because what we have heard lights up our spirits again, so that we can return to dream that God will do His will in our midst.
Sometimes, many years pass by. Your dreams begin in a small experience back in time. You don’t know how it will be possible, because you look at yourself, and you are small, you are limited, and certainly a failure. But you continue dreaming, because all the dreams that are invested in Christ will have fruit, they will be formed!
If we are entitled to dream, God was also entitled to dream when He thought of us, when He saw the face of each one of us. The Lord imagined you, imagined your figure, your hair, your eyes, your graces, your virtues. He never dreamt us faulty, He never dreamt us sick, He never dreamt us limited, He never dreamt us underappreciated and He never dreamt us diffident. Oh, the Lord has always dreamt of us as a great and blessed thing! You are one of God’s dreams!
Brothers and sisters, we are God’s dream, and in Christ this dream is becoming reality! In Christ God’s dream is being made reality: to recover all that is His, and to have the church which His Son will one day surrender at His feet! God has always dreamt of us as being perfect, and the final goal of His dream is that we receive the inheritance that He prepared before time began in Christ. And whilst that is not finished, His heart will continue dreaming, just like ours.
The fact that you are here is a dream that began in God’s heart. That dream nowadays is here, in hundreds of faces and hearts. Everything that we do in the Lord is a dream that, when we begin to see made reality, we laugh joyfully.
Jesus dreamt of twelve men who he called to follow him. They were in different conditions. He invested time, consecration and love. He loved them, he waited for them, he instructed them. He dreamt of Peter, of John, of James, of Matthew, of Thomas, of Simon the Zealot. Oh, how blessed is God! When He calls us, it is because He dreams of us!
How the Lord Jesus dreamt of a Jerusalem filled with God’s glory, a restored Jerusalem, a Jerusalem that received the Son of God! When he saw it from a distance, he exclaimed: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets... How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings...!” That was Jesus’ dream: to gather his chicks. That is the dream of the Lord: to gather us together, so that we be one with him. He cried in front of Jerusalem, because it was a dream which he – in that moment– could not see fulfilled. But he is seeing it fulfilled in us! Brothers, seeing you here, the Lord is seeing that His dream is being completed. He wants to gather us together, to make us one.
The Lord also dreamt of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was complicating the life of the believers. Jesus presented Himself with splendor. And Saul, so valiant, so great, so learned, fell to the ground like the smallest of humans. Because God was dreaming of Saul of Tarsus, to transform him into the greatest apostle; to the one who would receive revelation of the greatest mysteries.
The dreamers of the past
We have been very impressed in these days to know that in the distant past, and also in the not so distant past, men and women have dreamt of what today, in us, is becoming a reality. How did the brothers and sisters in China, the brothers in central Europe, the Moravians, in the Bohemian region, and in other places dream? In these times we can see with our own eyes the fulfillment of what they dreamt. And from now on, how many other glories will our dreams open up to us? Brothers, we are receiving the fruit from those who yesterday dreamt and sowed with tears.
We are fruit, first, of Christ’s sacrifice, and then, of the sacrifice of many others who surrendered their lives for this. Many were tortured and many went through the flames, thinking of this restoration.
Look around at the blessed youth present here. How are your dreams going, youngsters? Are you also dreaming of Christ and a service for Him? Does Christ have a part amid your academic and professional dreams? If you have been dreaming of being something great in yourself, have you kept in mind that all your life can be dreamt in Christ and that your profession can be an instrument of blessing in Christ, and that you can end up being a complete servant for the Lord?
The years in which you don’t serve openly; in which you are submerged, are vital for later service. May the Lord help us to place our dreams in His hands. I only ask that your dream doesn’t lower in intensity. Today is your day of remaining silent, of listening, of learning, of equipping your heart, of filling your quiver with those arrows that will find a perfect target. Don’t hurry, but serve. Don’t grow impatient with yourself, but serve. Dream, but serve, that God who examines all things, already took note of your desire for Him. And that dream that began very far back in time, one day will be a reality.
What will this group of youngsters do further into the future? Some will remain behind. Yet for others, in ten or twenty years time, if the Lord has still not come, I will sit down right here, and I will listen to them.
Desert and cross
This dream, brothers and sisters, in actual fact requires the desert and the cross. All authentic dreams first go through the cross. And just as the worm in the cocoon dreams of ending up being a butterfly – which takes time–, our cocoon won’t open up until when the Lord opens it for us.
Synthesis of a message shared in the Rucacura Conference (Chile) in January 2003.