Saturday, December 29, 2018
I had a dream in which I was shopping with my husband and my late father. The layout of this huge department store was similar to an IKEA in that there was a very convoluted path through a vast array of displays and merchandise. If you wanted to purchase anything, you had to take a ticket and pay for it at the cashier, not visible and seemingly miles away.
Unlike IKEA, however, the store building itself was amazingly majestic and resembled a historic bank building in downtown Tampa where we live, with towering granite pillars and elegant marble floors. Surprisingly, however, embedded into the flooring at various intervals were small, shiny mosaics in the likeness of different Pokemon cartoon characters.
An announcement came over the loudspeakers that closing time was fast approaching. We had become so caught up in the experience of this unusual place that we had forgotten why we came there, which was to purchase a baby gift! We decided that my husband and father would attempt to find a suitable gift while I would return to where we had spotted a couch my husband and I wanted to buy, so that I could get the ticket and meet them at the register before it was too late.
They indicated where I should go and took off in the opposite direction. As I ran toward the furniture department I suddenly realized that in my haste, I had dropped the coat I was carrying, and I rushed back to try to find it, to no avail. Even worse, now I had totally lost my bearings, I had no idea where I was, and the store was deserted, with no one to ask for help.
It seemed that there was only one way I could go, which was downward toward the center of the store, even though I sensed that I needed to be upward near the periphery. I ended up in the central court, where a sparkling three-tiered fountain was overflowing into a lavish pool lined with shining gold tiles.
When I awoke, I had mixed emotions of regret over not accomplishing my mission, and yet relief to have found the refreshing fountain. I might have forgotten about the dream, had it not been for an experience the following day of seeing the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” with my family. A preview before the main feature was of the latest Pokemon movie, reminding me of the strange mosaics embedded in the floor in my dream. In the Mary Poppins movie itself, much of the action took place in a London bank building very similar to the setting of my dream.
From the opening scene of the movie I found myself smiling and was encouraged by the positive themes of remembering our blessings no matter how dire the circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 68:19; 103:2); believing that all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and can work together for good (Romans 8:28); and knowing that we can be reunited with loved ones who have stepped out into eternity (2 Corinthians 5:8).
It is not a Christian film, so there were no explicit references to the Biblical basis for these convictions, but the symbolism and allusions were there for the viewer who was aware of these. Most encouraging of all was the repeated reminder to “Look up!” which of course brought to my mind that the Christian should be eagerly awaiting Christ’s second return (Luke 21:28)! And also that our help comes from above (Psalm 121:1), from the Father of lights (James 1:17).
But back to the symbolism of the dream. Traveling through the twists and turns of the building, seldom being able to see what was right around the bend, was a suitable metaphor for our earthly journey. I was with my late father, who represents the past that we cannot change, and my husband, who is the central person in my present reality. Yet our purpose in coming to the store was to purchase a baby gift, preparing for the unknown future, as it was unclear to me who the parents were or when the baby would be born.
Sadly, the dream ended with mission unaccomplished, leading me to consider the obstacles that hinder us (Hebrews 12:1) from fulfilling the unique purpose God has intended for each of us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10).
The setting in what appeared to be a bank building may have been a warning not to get caught up in the world system, now governed by Satan (Ephesians 2:2), with its emphasis on earthly riches, power and status (Matthew 6:24), and its spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). We must be on the lookout, because the devil himself is prowling about like a roaring lion eager to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
In fanciful contrast to the austere architecture were the cartoon characters inlaid as mosaics in the marble floors. The preview for the Pokemon movie also reminded me of today’s disturbing trend toward virtual reality, as people spend exorbitant amounts of time interacting with technology instead of with one another. This is an effective strategy of Satan, as it distracts from meaningful relationships and conversations (Luke 10:38-42) through which we can be an effective witness of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
Another trap that Satan sets for us is to become absorbed with creature comforts, which appeal to the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 1 John 2:16). My desire to purchase a sofa in the dream may have reflected the danger of being a “couch potato,” getting too lazy and comfortable (Romans 12:11) to be an effective warrior for the Lord (2 Timothy 2:1-4).
In the dream I lost my coat and had to retrace my steps to try to find it, only to lose time without regaining the coat. At the moment we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), Christ clothes us in His robe of perfect righteousness (Job 29:14; Isaiah 61:10), but if we willfully sin or rebel against Him we act as if we are attempting to remove His protective, cleansing, holy garment.
The loudspeaker in the dream announced that time was running out. Surely in our own earthly lives time is our greatest asset, and its loss or waste our deadliest foe (James 4:14; Job 14:1). As the End Times draw nearer and our own allotted days on earth draw to a close, it is vitally important that we redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). May we use these precious moments to draw souls to Christ by witnessing (Matthew 28:18-20) of the need for faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven!
My father and husband chose the right path by seeking a baby gift, symbolizing preparing the way for souls to be born again (John 3:3-8) and to be nurtured as new babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1). I didn’t know the identity of the baby in the dream, and it may be that witnessing online or in public, living a Godly life, or praying for strangers may lead people to the Lord even if we don’t know who they are in this life. It also reminds me of the gifts brought by the Magi to the young Child Jesus (Matthew 2:11), and that wise men still seek Him and honor Him with gifts of their time, talent and treasure.
Yet I found myself on a different path, backsliding away from the intended goal. Thankfully, when I could go no further down that wrong road, I was in the presence of a beautiful, refreshing fountain. Jesus Christ Himself is the Living Water, the Fountain Who forever cleanses us and quenches our thirst (John 4:10-13; 7:38; Revelation 7:17). The fountain was three-tiered, for in Jesus is the fullness of the Triune Godhead bodily, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9).
Once we are truly saved by trusting Him as our Lord and Savior, He is ours and we are His, no matter how far we go astray (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39). Heaven will be our home, replete with streets of gold (Revelation 21:20) and the Lamb seated on His throne, sparkling like a jewel with halos of rainbow light (Revelation 4:2-3).
But how sad it would be to leave this earth without His mission for us being accomplished, and to miss out on heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) He longs to give us! As this year ends, and if He grants us a new beginning (Lamentations 3:22-23) by bringing us into the New Year, may we resist the wiles of the devil (James 4:7), set aside earthly distractions, redeem the time, and devote our whole being to serving Him!
© 2018 Laurie Collett