Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Nightmare OFF Elm Street

It was only a dream; well, more like a nightmare!

I awoke with a start on that Sunday morning as a result of the dream. While not reality, the dream did contain foreboding images and sounds which would not depart from my brain. Sensing something amiss, my wife asked me what was wrong. I told her I was in a bad mood because of the dream.

For the remainder of that day, I could not clear my head of the horrible events I witnessed in my sleep. Some of my family interpreted my quietness and the absence of interest in variable events of the day to mean I was angry. But, that was not the case. It was not anger that troubled me; it was fear. This fear arose out of what I envisioned in my dream and the possibility it may foretell the future.

I’ve never been one to put much credence in the interpretation of dreams. Usually, I simply dismiss any which I recall once awake. God once revealed Himself to our ancestors in dreams, but I’m not convinced He does so today. If He would give us a dream for some purpose, that vision must align with the words of Scripture. God’s revelation has been sealed for centuries; no new revelation is being given, only illumination of His revealed Word. Therefore, I lay no claim that this horrific dream was God-sent.

Nevertheless, it remains with me days later. I’ve struggled with whether to share the content of the dream or to keep it to myself. Furthermore, I’ve struggled with what, if anything, I can do about it.

I’m writing this article to explain what I dreamt and attempt to do something positive from it.

First, the reader must have some background on our family. My wife and I have nine, grown children. All eleven of us, at one time or another, have professed Jesus as our Lord and been immersed. Furthermore, we have eighteen grandchildren ranging in age from one to twenty-five. Some of them have also made professions of faith in Christ.

I must also confess I have developed a ridiculous fear of crowds (ochlophobia) over the past decade. On occasion, if I am in a large group of people, I become extremely nervous and have an urgent need to extricate myself from the situation. At times, I have successfully managed to control the fear. But, I never know beforehand if I can do so.

With that knowledge, I begin my recollection of my dream. It came to me in two distinct parts.

First, my entire family were visiting Disney World. We were walking around when my ochlophobia began. After attempting to control it for a brief time, I told my family I must leave them and return to the hotel room. To my dismay and surprise, some of them laughed at me, some mocked me, and others yelled at me for not seeing a doctor about my condition. None of this mattered to me, and I departed for the solitude of the hotel room.

Second, while relaxing in my room and recovering from my panic, I began to hear voices. I sat up in my bed and distinctly heard the voices of some of my family. Someone was shouting, “Dad, please help me.” Another screamed, “Grandpa, help!” The voices became louder in volume and more in number.

Concerned for my family’s well-being, I leapt from my bed, threw on my shoes, and bolted for the door. Meanwhile, the voices were growing louder than before, repeatedly pleading for my help. I was quivering from fear, wondering what might be happening to them.

Then, I flung open the door to the room.

On the other side of the door was a massive chasm, the bottom completely out of sight. Far down in that hole, orange flames and smoke were clearly visible. The sound of steam was now added to the crying voices of my family.

Across the chasm on the far ledge stood some of my family, both children and grandchildren. Not all were there, and I could not make out any of their faces. Yet, I knew they were the source of the pleas for help.

Standing in the doorway of my room, I watched as my family members, one by one, were pushed into this pit. Even as they fell, they were screaming for my aid, begging me to rescue them.

I could do nothing.

Then, I awoke.

I trust the reader now understands why this dream has dramatically affected me. I suspect such a dream would haunt any parent. The larger and more important question is what can I do with it? Simply forgetting the dream is not an option, at least, not one for me.

Now that all our children have left our home, they must live their own lives. I have no authority over them and cannot demand their obedience to my religion. I do my best not to offer advice to any of them unless asked. Some of them remain active in local churches, hopefully a sign of their true faith. Others, however, appear to have abandoned the faith, or, at least, no longer consider it of importance. The only help I can offer my child is, first, that I will pray for you, and, second, to exhort you either to return to the Lord you once professed or to truly seek Him for the first time. For when the judgment comes, and we stand on opposite sides of God’s throne, there is nothing I can do to help you. Screaming for my assistance will prove useless. Jesus is your only hope.

My grandchildren prove a special burden. I have exercised extreme caution over the years with meddling in their lives. Their parents, not me, are responsible for their upbringing. Even in the realm of religion, I have reluctantly refrained from saying very much about Christ and salvation so not to override their parents’ views. Yet, I fear some may not be learning about the danger that awaits them and their need for Christ. What might I do to respect their parents but assist my grandchildren? Well, as with your parents, I will pray for you, grandchild. The Lord often moves in mysterious ways and He can reach you even if your parents attempt to block His influence. Second, I will pray for your parents. I will pray that, perhaps, they will have a similar dream in which they are standing in the door and watching you being pushed into eternal punishment. I will pray they come to their senses in the matter of God, sin, Jesus, salvation, and eternal judgment. They have the responsibility to share those things with you.

Lastly, I will pray that, when judgment day comes, all my family, each one, stand on the same side of God’s throne, believers in Jesus, prepared for eternity.

Oh, and yes, we do live just off Elm Street!

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