I had a crazy amazing dream yesterday. I was going to see someone. Along the way, I saw a good looking, polished stranger. I knew that while he appeared to be nice, even helpful, he was caught up in some unsavory business. So much so, he was trying to quickly help me locate the person I was meeting and then get back to what he was doing. When we found the person I was seeking, he introduced the man as “Ed”, exchanged some pleasantries and took off. I knew the man but didn’t think his name was “Ed”. Still, I thought maybe I was mistaken and ended up referring to him twice by that name as I greeted and hugged him. For a brief moment, I could view the exchange between the man and me. While hugging me, he shook his head in an exasperated way as if to say “No, not Ed.” I felt as if I disappointed him. Then, during the embrace I remembered his name… Bill. “Bill!” I said and I looked at him with such love (and a bit a regret for calling him by another name) – like when you really know someone and how awesome they are knowing that people are missing out. Bill and I stood side by side with arms around each other’s waists leaning in on each other lovingly as a woman approached. I instantly knew she was the stranger’s wife and felt so badly for her. I began to testify about things in my life that I had experienced that revealed to her the truth about what she was going through. While my heart hurt for her, I knew she would be okay because of Bill.
Now, let’s unpack some of the treasures from this dream. The handsome stranger represents the Church. He was caught up in adultery. If you read the Bible, you will see that adultery and idolatry often go hand in hand. It’s such an egregious thing that is often used symbolically to describe our wandering from the Lord (see Hosea) and these themes are discussed often. People become unfaithful to the Lord, running off to worship false gods be them money, power, influence, etc.. The man’s preoccupation with getting back to his tryst represents that demonic influence and manipulation of doublemindedness. They are so caught up in the world and can’t see what is really happening around them – thus him referring to Bill as “Ed”. They are in a daze. They can appear to be all together – even sweet – all the while leading a double life. Ed comes from the name Edward which means “rich guard”. Bill comes from the name William which has a few meanings all along the theme of a resolute or strong willed protector. I want to also point out that Bill was actually Bill Gates. Now, before we get off track, the Lord is punny, funny and poetic and has often used names in various ways to get a point across or to illustrate something to me (just like He does in the Bible). Whether this dream has any meaning for the real Bill Gates, only the Lord knows. However, He used this person’s name for a reason. We know what a gate is and what it does and we also know Who the Gate is. So if I was embracing the Resolute Protector of the Gate or the Gate Himself, I was hugging who?
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9 NIV)
So, now we can touch upon why calling Him by the wrong name was a little disappointing. A lot of times, people operate under the idea that the Lord is a genie. And, sometimes, He’s a money genie… (a little play on the “rich gate”). There’s a lot of prosperity gospel out there. But, let’s not get too legalistic here. God does provide in that way, too, but that’s not what He should be known for. And, let’s, too, note that riches can be a lot of things: peace, joy, etc. “Bill” looked like “Yeah, I can do that, too, but that’s not WHO I AM.” In my spirit when I realized how He felt, my “eyes” saw Him so clearly that I remembered Him – The One who has cared and loved me through many trials.
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5 NIV)
He is The One who has stood so steadfastly by my side (notice how we were standing and bonus, I was on His right side). I wish I could adequately explain all of the feelings and intense love that washed over me when I remembered “Bill’s” name. I was so grateful for Him that I had to tell this woman my testimony – to let her know Who was taking care of her.
We’re going to take a step back a bit and then I want to drive the point home with two other dreams. See, the real wandering here is seeking His Hand and not Him. In my dream I called him “Ed” twice. I can think of two really big times in my life when that’s what I did – I sought His Hand and went back to my “life” like that stranger did. God has many names, but in this scenario, it’s a bit like an adulterer calling Him by their lover’s name. It’s a bit like using that faithful, loving person to get what you want and then going back to the supposed “good life”. But, this time, when the same situation showed up again, I just threw down that “good life” (and let’s be really real, the Lord brought me to my knees here) and I said “No more. I can’t do this again. I want this fixed and I want it done the right way. I want to do this with you, Lord. Whatever You say. And, this time, I’m not letting You go and please don’t let me.” And that is what’s been going on. I started by reading His Word and then wanting to know about Him. I’ve stumbled. I’ve struggled. I’ve wept and wailed and stomped my foot. But, I don’t just know of Him anymore. I know Him in ways I didn’t before. He’s been better to me and loved me more than anyone ever has or ever could in my whole life. And I love Him. It’s been hard. But, seeking Him and not just His Hand is the smartest thing I have EVER done in my whole life.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 NIV)
The Name Game
Now… to the two dreams and then we will round the bases. I’m just going to give the highlights. I had two dreams where I was in a jam of some sort. The first one I had last summer. A man named Ted helped me clean up a mess I had made in a 7-Eleven (catch the name of the store). I spilled a drink. A few days ago, playing with the same theme, I was in a grocery check out line about to pay someone else’s bill I’d been stuck with when a woman named Abby showed up to pay it. Ted comes from Theodore which means “God’s gift” and Abby comes from Abigail which means “God’s joy”. Both people in the dream were big. I’m a petite woman so they made me feel small by comparison. They both showed up big when I needed them and took care of a problem I felt responsible for. In both scenarios (despite my spilling the drink), the “messes” weren’t really mine to clean up. Both of these dreams go back to the idea of who He is. In the first dream, God’s Gift was cleaning up sin and not necessarily my own – Grace. He paid off a spiritual debt I could not pay. In the second, it was God’s joy and good pleasure to clean up a financial debt. I sought Him first and then His Hand took care of my other needs. See what He did there with the names!?!?
I had to…
On the 2’s and 3’s
There is a prophetic word here for two people… maybe three. I, personally, have been on what I believe is a three year cycle this third time around. In the Bible there are various instances that end with a rebirth, a new thing or an open door on a third day or year. My last two years have felt a bit Job-ish and a lot like Joseph in the prison. Remember after two full years, Joseph was remembered and promoted (Genesis 41). He gives God glory (verse 16), helps another and is given a highly respected position. Remember, too, that Joseph told Pharaoh that because God showed him two versions of that dream, He was intending to do what He was showing him (verse 32, See the Name Game above … 2x)
Joseph was 30 (another 3) when he was remembered. Now, I’m not 30. I just recently turned 40. But as I was studying the significance of 40 in Judaism, I came across some interesting information. 40 means transition, change, renewals and new beginnings. When one turns 40, it is believed you gain another level of wisdom. Let me also bring your attention to the fact that we just started the new Hebrew month of Nisan – the month of miracles and a new year. A LOT of significant biblical events took place in this month. We also just had a new moon. New, new, new! So, if you are the “me” in this dream and are standing beside the gate, I believe it’s about to open. Remember the “password”. Reflect on Who He is and what He has done. Praise Him.
A Word to the Wise
If you are the lady in the dream, seek Him. Period. Come to know Him, seek wisdom that is worth more than rubies (see Proverbs 8:10-11) and you will see His Hand that comes bearing gifts. She represents the people that don’t know Him and in some ways, the unsaved world and the sleeping Church.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11 NIV)
“They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:5-6 NIV)
My testimony helped shed light on things for her and introduced her to the One who can do more than she could ever imagine.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:17b-21 NIV)
And, oh, to the other “me’s” out there, that’s part of the gig, too. We don’t just go through stuff for ourselves. It’s to help others as well. Shine your light in the darkness to help others see. Point them to the straight and narrow path of the True Gate.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
And if you’re a handsome stranger who has gotten off track, come get reacquainted. He still remembers your name. You are His and He’s waiting for you.
“They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them.” (Nehemiah 9:17 NIV)
“But now the Lord Who made you, O Jacob, and He Who made you, O Israel, says, “Do not be afraid. For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1 NIV)