Dreams and (Un-)answered Prayer?

Slovak teenagers sitting under a tree hearing the gospel from my 2011 mission to Slovakia

Lately my mind has been filled with dreams; longings for the future. I’ve been gazing down a winding path of uncertain hopefulness of things that could be. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been considering what I’ve accomplished over the past thirty years and where I’d like to be.

There is a song by a popular Christian group, Sidewalk Prophets, which keeps catching my attention called, Help Me Find It.  The chorus goes,

“If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will,
Whatever Your will”

Every time I hear this song, every verse resonates in my soul and I have to stop and pray to words to God as I listen.

Last night my longings manifested themselves in a dream while I slept. It was late evening and I was supposed to be meeting my husband to do an errand together when this kitten came up to me, put his front paws on my leg, then swung his body around to the other direction, looking back at me like, “come on, I have to show you something!” I was conflicted as I really needed to go meet my husband but my heart goes out to any animal, so I followed him. Under a tree were about six other kittens and a mama cat, obviously homeless. They were surrounded by four older children, also casually sitting under the tree. There was a building to the left, more of a shack, with outside lights shining on the two families.

I asked the children what they were doing there. Between the ages of around 8 and 14, the oldest one, a girl, told me, “We have no family and nowhere to go.” I didn’t know what to do. I thought, “At least I can get them a blanket while I figure it out,” but that didn’t seem the answer.

It was as though Jesus were standing beside me saying, “Tell them about me. What they really need is me.” In fact, I realized there was a young man standing beside me with a stubbly beard and unkempt sun-stroked hair, he was dressed in every day jeans and light jacket. It was as though he had been with me all along. It must have been Jesus.

So, filled with the spirit of Jesus Christ, I began to speak. I related my own life challenges to the suffering of these four kids and began to share the message of Jesus’ redemption.

The children hung on my every word, and as they did so, more children began to gather around them. Some came and sat closer to me in eagerness, others stood behind the tree, a little more shyly but all leaning in to the Truth of God’s gift of salvation. I finished with an invitation to them all to receive this truth into their hearts and lives. I knew that my words were not my own, but given to me by the spirit of God. I alone am not capable of such eloquence.

As I concluded, I told the kids, mostly young teenagers, to tell someone if they had prayed that prayer, so that they could begin to learn what it meant to let their decision to follow Jesus grow and become a part of their everyday life. I told them to go and tell others the same truth. My outward thought was, “Oh wow, now I need to stay here in case they need to tell me of their decision, so that I can answer their questions and guide them,” but my inner self said, “No, you’ve made a commitment to your husband to meet him.” It was as if the man beside me, Jesus, was saying, “No, it’s not your responsibility. Leave them to me. I will take care of them.”

As I left several of the kids came up to me to say, “I did it! I prayed to have Jesus in my heart and life!” I rejoiced with them but said,”I’m sorry but I have to go now,” to which they seemed sad, but ok, and so I left. I met up with my husband, apologized for being late, and told him the amazing thing that had just happened.

As I awoke this morning, it occurred to me that my dream was a direct realization of my life’s dream. Some time ago, I wrote out this vision for my life:

“My vision is to be a light of the Gospel of Christ in the lives of teenagers, their parents, and other student ministry leaders, that they may know and receive His love in the every day realities of their lives and to shepherd them as hands in the harvest.”

The passage from the Bible which had led me to this vision was from Matthew 9,

 35  And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

I think the four siblings sitting under the tree were the “sheep without a shepherd.” The rest of the kids that came as I shared the gospel message were the harvest that needed tending. I am convinced that my dream last night was a visual image of my dreams for the future; a prayer I’ve been praying more and more.

This dream was my peace, God asking me to be still, while I wait for Him to show me the road He needs me to walk. This dream was a message from God saying, “It’s ok that you don’t have all the answers, all the directions for the journey you are on. Trust me while I put into place all the necessary things for your vision to come to full manifestation.”

If you listen to the rest of the Sidewalk Prophets song, you will here them tell you that all the answers aren’t going to be there, and that’s ok. They encourage us to trust God, have faith, and say no to fear.

Sometimes what seems like an unanswered prayer is really just God saying, “wait.”  His answer is the peace in the waiting. I certainly don’t have all the answers and I’m learning to be ok with that because I never will.


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