–Part III: Pointing to the Stands–
Throughout my life, from the age of thirteen on, the Lord has on rare occasions used dreams to speak to me- to teach, comfort, or encourage; to expose a sin of which I was unaware, or even to reveal the truth about a situation.
Even as a child, the world for me was stitched together with symbol and metaphor, and the best way to show me something has always been to lead me to it from the side. I think that’s why God sometimes uses dreams to teach me. Every now and then, the Truth approaches, cloaked in analogy, so that I can put my hands on it, smell it, talk to it, taste it, feel the reality of it, and walk in it. I understand better that way.
It’s something like the prophet Nathan weaving a tale for the King of a man and his beloved lamb. “You, sir, are that man”
If you’ve ever had an important dream- especially a dream from the Lord, you know…there’s an entirely different quality about them. There’s a staying power and a clarity. It seems to grow as the morning advances, so that what was a brilliant but small image on waking now fills the room and every one of your thoughts. It quietly demands a reckoning.
Each time I have dreamed this way, the veneer of story has given way quickly and clearly to a very sure and obvious message. The Lord is not one for confusion. And even when I have been chastened by them, the messages have always brought comfort.
So, when I woke from that beautiful marathon dream, covered still in golden comfort and rest; there was, to borrow C.S. Lewis’s words, “a weight of glory” about it. The meaning sat right on the surface, waiting gladly.
We were in the last leg of the journey.
This message was critical, not just for encouragement’s sake (though it certainly was a boost to my tired heart), but it was an important tactical direction.
From the moment I stepped my toes on the first rung of the journey 11 months before, this question has remained: “How will I know when I’m finished?”
The Gerson Institute did not have a good answer. They haven’t dealt with many people with my disease. From 6 weeks in, my blood work showed that the rampant inflammation in my body was down to a low normal (a harrowing CRP of 13.4 had slid down to 1.6), so that would not be the gauge of completion.
In the case of many Gerson patients, there is a tumor to watch shrink, or cancer cells to test. But not here. What would mark the finish?
Two suggestions came. The first, that I should continue until I had no more symptoms and then remain on the therapy for a few more months to be certain. The second came from a dear woman whose husband had been cured of a very aggressive form of testicular cancer through Gerson Therapy fifteen years prior. Her words were, “The Lord will let you know”.
This was good enough for me. So, onto the course we stepped, headed toward a finish line we could not see.
When the poignant dream came, bearing the messages, “Four more miles”, and “The outcome is assured”, I went trembling before the Lord and asked,
“What do You mean exactly? Which outcome is assured? Are You saying simply that I will finish my race, or that I will be healed?”
Long before the question left my lips, the answer stood tall and silent before me. My fainting human heart was too afraid to crack one eye and look up. It was an armful of hope so big it could crush the chest if I were wrong. And there it was. There He was…and the word was too buoyant to push back down…I was to be healed.
I hardly dared raise my head, but I had to ask the rest.
“And what is four more miles? Surely You cannot mean four more months?”
I so badly wanted to hedge my bets, and call it silly metaphor, an overactive subconscious, or wishful thinking. But there He was smiling, holding out His hand, and asking again for my trust. That “four more miles” would be a scant four months.
Really? Really?! It was like Babe Ruth pointing to the center field stands when the ball wasn’t yet in the air. Obscenely daring.
What if I’ve heard You wrong? —- What if it fails? —- What if I’m not healed? —- What if this is just some kind of Freudian wish-fulfillment? —- What will happen to my faith if I lean in with all my weight and fall?
(Aren’t these the same kinds of questions we ask every time we’re led to a leap in faith?)
But the thing was that I KNEW. I knew with all my heart the truth. And the joy was pushing out hard against my skin, waiting to burst forth if I would only say, “Yes”.
If I would enter in, I would see the unexplainable.
What made the jump a little easier is that Shayne and I know now, by the gracious gift of real experience, that the One who bids you sail off the cliff, will also see you caught in the most astounding of ways. He’ll open a door in a wall, or hide a ram in the thicket.
Our eyes have seen too much not to know: our Redeemer lives. And He can be trusted: even when He invites to the impossible, the alarming, or the unimaginable.
So, at the whisper of His ridiculous (and wonderful) words, I tarried for a long moment; then smiled back, took His offered hand, and cast myself in. It was August 8th. I told Shayne and a small handful of others.