They say that dreams reveal what is going on deep down inside us… Not long ago I dreamed that I was on a cargo train trundling through the desert. I found myself holding two snakes by the head, restraining them from doing harm. Then a woman came up close and pointed to the desert. “Throw them overboard,” she said. It hadn’t occurred to me.
God also speaks to us through our dreams. That same afternoon someone gave me a prayer by St. Anthony of the Desert… “Lord, help us to take nothing with us as we enter the desert and there teach our hearts to beat in time with yours.”
I finally knew what those snakes represented. In my prayers that evening I threw them overboard and felt freer than I had in years… Is something dragging you down as well? Sometimes it is as simple as throwing it away.
The other evening my son rang home. “Mum, I lost my bicycle lock key.”
Ten minutes later we stood over his locked bike. There was nothing left to do, but smash the lock. We found a brick, but the lock held fast.
Finally we gave up and headed home. “Whose lock was that?” I asked my son. “Yours, Mum,” he said.
I couldn’t believe it. The spare key was actually with me, on my keyring!
There are times in life when we will feel trapped like that bike, and no amount of frenzied lock-smashing is setting us free. Let me assure you, there is a key. Jesus, the locksmith, understands locks. He gives us the key. He says, “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) What misunderstanding is locking you up?
In the space of four days, opposite events occurred:
- Someone said something with an intent to destroy.
- A friend took me to the National Art Gallery in London.
I sat before a painting with my friend – The Raising of Lazarus.* It mirrored my circumstances… Lazarus was dead, and I felt the same. But, four days later Jesus told the mourners to open to tomb. An awful smell poured out. Yet, Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out!”**
…I sat there. Lazarus was me. Jesus was calling. I lived! Lazarus tore off his shroud. I could tear off mine. I could be free!
You see, death-like words don’t have to hold us down. “Come out!” Jesus calls to each one of us. We can choose to get up and LIVE!
* Sebastiano del Piombo, 1517-19 **from John 11
Often I wake up in the night, trying to break free from lies I picked up in my past. I have even prayed for Jesus to heal me. But the following day I end up right where I started, acting as if those lies are still true.
If I told you those lies, you would shake your head. You would say, “Eva, but those are just LIES! They aren’t true!”
I know that too. But breaking free from what has become a part of our emotional DNA is not an easy thing. Even Jesus knew that. Nowhere in the Bible (I have searched!) did he instantly heal an emotionally hurting person. Instead he stretched out his arms. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… Learn from me.” (Matthew 11:28-29) Jesus is our comforter, our teacher, our gradual healer. He shows us how to live without lies.