A dream: 13.8.22.

Context: A few nights ago I had a vivid, strange and disturbing dream:

I saw a group of very young children who had just been separated from those whose task it was to take care of them. The children weren’t old enough to walk, so they were having to crawl along a rough, narrow, dirty street, moving away from their carers, and towards an unknown destination.

All of them were wailing. It was a heartbreaking sound. In his distress, perhaps blinded by tears, one little boy blundered head-first into a stone wall. He slumped to the ground, and I was shocked to hear him cry out, “They don’t love us any more”, in utter despair, hopelessness and desolation. After that he stopped moving. It was clear that he had given up the will to survive.

My heart went out to him. I jumped up and ran to him, putting my arms round his small body to comfort him. At that moment, I woke up with my arms clasped around my pillow. Instantly, even before I could begin to pray, several realisations struck me hard: 

What I realised

Everything I experienced during my childhood laid the foundations of my mental health during adult life.

This includes how I was treated by those who brought me up, as well as by those I was exposed to at school, in churches, clubs, hospitals and all other settings.

Thus, for good or ill, I have been influenced and affected by all the relationships and events I experienced during my formative years.

Comments

From my dream, and from the realisations which followed immediately afterwards, I understood even more clearly than before that the damage done to me in childhood caused the wounds and scars I have carried into adulthood.

These wounds shaped the person I have become, including all I feel, think, say and do. They affect how I behave, relate to others, cope with suffering, treat the world, understand God, and even whether or not I want to live. They also affected how I brought up my son, and how I reacted to having a miscarriage.

My dream showed me the mechanism by which so much of my psychological distress and mental illness has been caused. Only God can fully heal the inner damage I sustained, and the consequences with which I have had to live.

I am the LORD who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
(Psalm 147:3; NLT). 

Infinite love

Context: Yesterday, after the briefest of waking-up prayers, I wrote solidly from 6-8.30am. By then I had more or less completed “Golden light” (https://wp.me/p45bCr-bR3), which later became the day’s blog. It was time to get up, but I decided to take a moment to pray before going downstairs. However, I had barely begun to collect my thoughts when I was hit by a series of revelations.

By the time they came to an end, I was shaken, tearful, joyful, reeling and awed, because I had just been given a glimpse of God’s infinite love and omnipresence. I had made some notes, but have no idea whether I wrote them during, or just after, what happened.

The experience was like watching slow-motion ripples spreading out wider and wider after a single drop of water had fallen into a vast, motionless sea. What I saw is very difficult to express in words, but I will do my best to describe each ripple in turn.

1. All love comes from God
I perceived that whenever I receive love, whether from a person or an animal, that love always comes from God, who is present within the one who is loving me.

2. God is in everything
Next, I grasped that God’s loving presence is in all that exists on earth, including everything made by people, as well as by God.

3. God is in good and bad
Then, I understood that God’s loving presence is not restricted to good people, creatures and things. Rather, divine love is equally present in difficult people, creatures, circumstances and events, including accidents, sickness, suffering, fear, grief and disaster – that is: all life and death.

4. God is in the cosmos
After this, I realised that everything in the cosmos also contains God’s loving presence, including the planets, suns, stars, comets, galaxies and even the dust of space.

Comment
Thus, I learned that divine love is present in everything, here and now, without exception. It has always been so, and always will be so, yet, like Jacob on his journey to Harran, I had not recognised this (see Genesis 28:16-17; NIV). As I write, I’m still shaking my head in wonderment at what I saw, yet there was more to come.

5. God is in all
Following this, I glimpsed that God’s loving presence can also be found in ugliness, destruction, abuse, violence and sin, though this is very hard to put into words. However much human beings damage and despoil the divine image in people, creatures, objects and creation, God’s love is still present in all things. Seeing this helped me to understand a little more about how God is able to bring good out of bad (see Romans 8:28; NLT).

Furthermore, I saw that there are no exceptions to God’s loving omnipresence. This means that there is nothing I can…

See, hear, smell, taste, or touch;
Use, waste, neglect, ignore, break, or discard;
Feel, think, say, or do;
Judge, hate, or destroy,

…that isn’t filled to overflowing with God’s loving presence.

6. Living in heaven
Lastly, I saw that when I consciously and fully recognise God’s constant, loving presence everywhere, and in all things, I live in God, which means living in heaven on earth. Similarly, after death, I will live in God, in heaven. Thus, I perceived that whether I live or die, oneness with God is the same.

Conclusion
God is present
in all people, creatures, things, experiences and events, everywhere and forever, and God is love (1 John 4:16; NIV).

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6; NLT).


References 

There is one Lord …who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT).

Close

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me
(Psalm 23:4; NLT).

1. You are as close to me as breathing.
You are as close to me as dread.
You are as close, Lord, as my heartbeat –
Closer than words unsaid.

2. You are as close to me as weeping.
You are as close to me as pain.
You are as close to me as anguish –
Closer than guilt, or shame.

3. You are as close to me as living.
You are as close to me as prayer.
You are as close to me as panic –
Closer than my despair.

4. You are as close to me as grieving.
You are as close to me as kin.
You are as close to me as dying –
Closer, by far, than sin.

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us
(Colossians 3:11; NLT).


References 

1.  The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4; NLT).

2. Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT).

3. The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; NRSV).

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; NLT).

4. To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:11; NLT). 

Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-9; NLT). 

Don’t give up


I might as well give up and die (Psalm 28:1; NLT).

Since God in his mercy has given us this new way,
we never give up (2 Corinthians 4:1; NLT). 

1. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
Weep and pray with me.

2. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
I will hear your plea.

3. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
Weep, then weep no more.

4. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
I have good in store.

5. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
Try again with me.

6. Don’t give up,
And don’t give in:
I will set you free.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed
(John 8:36; NLT).


References 

1. While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence (Hebrews 5:7; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV). 

2. I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy (Psalm 116:1; NLT). 

3. “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 31:16; NLT). 

4. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11; NLT). 

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; GNT).

5. Come on, all of you, try again! (Job 17:10; NLT). 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NIV).

Be sure of this: I am with you always (Matthew 28:20; NLT).

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me (Psalm 23:4; NKJV).

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

6. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36; NLT). 

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NIV).

The Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17; NLT). 

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT).

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10; NLT).

To you alone

Be sure that your faith is in God alone.
(James 1:6; NLT).

1. To you, alone, my Father,
Will I bow;

2. With you, alone, my Saviour,
Will I kneel;

3. In you, alone, my Helper, 
Will I pray –

4. For you, alone, will hear
My mute appeal.

5. So you, alone, my Father,
Will I serve;

6. In you, alone, my Saviour,
Will I trust;

7. To you, alone, my Helper,
Will I cry –

8. For you, alone, are life,
Though I am dust.

🖤

I am nothing but dust and ashes.
(Genesis 18:27; NIV).


References

1. Bow down to him alone (2 Kings 17:36; NLT).

2. Every knee will bend to me (Romans 14:11; NLT).

3. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever (John 14:16; AMP). 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:18; NLT).

4. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will (Romans 8:26-7; NLT). 

5. Serve only him (Luke 4:8; NLT).

6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5; NLT). 

7. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice (Psalm 55:17; NLT).

8. O Lord, I give my life to you (Psalm 25:1; NLT). 

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20; NLT). 

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; NLT).

He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14-16; NLT).

 


 

You hear me

1. Father God,
You hear me,
And never leave my side.

Each word, each sigh,
Each prayer, each cry:
You know; you grasp; you care.

2. Father God,
You see me,
And never leave my side.

Each hurt, each tear,
Each pain, each fear:
You know; you grasp; you share.

3. Father God,
You love me,
And never leave my side.

Each doubt, each loss,
Each sin, each cross:
You know; you grasp; you bear.

🖤


References

1. He hears my voice (Psalm 116:1; NLT).

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect me and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).

You hear my every sigh (Psalm 38:9; NLT).

You know all about me (Psalm 139:1; CEV).

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NLT).

 2. You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13; NIV).

He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

3. He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble, or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-8; NLT).

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV).


It’s not lonely

As my life was fading away, I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you, in your holy temple.
(Jonah 2:7; CSB). 

We all fade like a leaf (Isaiah 64:6: ESV).

1. Father,
It’s not lonely as we fade:
Even when no one comes,
You hear our cry.

2. Father,
It’s not lonely as we ebb:
Even if no one cares,
You share each sigh.

3. Father,
It’s not lonely as we yield:
Even though no one helps,
You soothe our fear.

4. Father,
You receive our final breath:
Dancing beside you,
Paradise starts here.

🖤

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43; NIV).

 


References

1. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38; NLT).

The Lord hears the cries of the needy (Psalm 69:33; NLT). 

2. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NLT). 

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh (Psalm 38:9; NLT). 

3. I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV). 

He helps me (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

4. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last (Luke 23:46; NIV).

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).