Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming

Psalm 139:17-18

sleeping6 A few weeks ago after a particularly long day my wife and I dropped into our bed exhausted and I immediately fell fast asleep.  Sometime later my wife woke me up and I stared at her through foggy eyes trying to figure out what was wrong.  “You were talking,” she said, “you kept saying ‘Hey Steve- Steve!’ over and over you were trying to get some guys attention.” I had no recollection of it but assumed that I must been talking to a friend in my dream.  I got up for a glass of water and came back to bed hoping that I had cleared whatever dream I had been having and would be able to snooze peacefully for the remainder of the night.  As I settled in again my wife turned and kissed me goodnight and said, “If you see anybody you know this time, just wave, ok?” Ever have the kind of dream that seems so real it makes you talk in your sleep or maybe even wave an arm or move your feet like a lazy dog dreaming of running? We’ve all probably experienced that feeling.  Some dreams seem so real it’s hard to separate them from reality the next day.  My wife once sped an entire day mad at me for something I’d done in her dream!  And we’ve all experienced the way too intense stayed-up-late-watching-zombie-movies nightmares, right? The ones where you’re trying to force yourself awake just to end it… you know the dreams I’m talking about.  And maybe the best kind of dreams of all are the ones you’re having at 6 am when the alarm goes off and all you want to do is roll over and go back to sleep and back to that dream.  If you’re anything like me that rarely works out though; the dream is gone.  We’ve all probably wished a time or two that our conscious reality might look more like some nocturnal fantasy we’ve had.  What if the splendor of the dream could remain with us even in daylight? What might that be like? In Psalm 139 King David said that’s what life was like for him.  Look at verses 16, 17, and 18 of the Psalm.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:16–18, ESV)

Two things have captured David’s wonder and have left him awestruck: the presence and the purposes of God. The King has realized that even before he was born, while he was yet an unknown, unnamed embryo in his mother’s womb God knew him and had a plan.  Before David saw the light of even one day on earth, every day he would spend on this terrestrial ball was already recorded in God’s book.  “How wonderful are the thoughts You think toward me and the purposes You have concerning me!” cries the humbled shepherd king, “they are precious to me! It’s like I’m dreaming! How could anything in reality be this good?” he exclaims. It’s like David has found himself in the middle of one of those awesome, don’t-you-dare-wake-me-up kind of dreams.  The psalmist has discovered that the God of creation, the Lord of Hosts, the Inescapable Presence is FOR him and not against him and that He has a purpose to prosper him.  This is all so incredible, so unbelievable, so inconceivable and improbable that David decides that it must all be simply a dream; it must be a delusion or a hoax his own brain is playing on him while he sleeps.  But then look at end of verse 18… David wakes up.  He comes back to himself; he returns from the fogginess of slumber and he discovers something amazing: God’s presence is still with me!  His purposes are still to prosper me; to lay His hands of blessing upon me and give me a hope and a future!  The dream isn’t a dream at all- it’s reality!! David rejoiced to discover that the presence and the purpose of God in his life was real; God was truly with him and He was constantly there directing David’s life so that God’s pleasant purposes might be accomplished in and through His servant. Not that David didn’t know nightmares… both before and after these words of David we find evidence that conscious life for the king was often worse than any unconscious night terror.  The psalmist spoke of vicious enemies, “men of blood” surrounding him.  In the earlier stanzas of the poem he speaks of the even crueler enemy of shame: shame that left him looking for a place to hide from God.  David knew nightmares.  On more than one occasion David LIVED nightmares.  But by faith David swapped the realms of dream and reality.  The evil and the trouble that David lived with while awake he reckoned as merely a mist of fantasy and he reckoned as his true reality that which he had once thought could only be a dream: the truth that God was with David and working even in his nightmarish circumstances to accomplish the precious thoughts that He had toward His child. Friend, we are called to the same thing today.  We must recognize first of all, like David did, that what we once thought could only be true in a dream is in fact more real than we can imagine.  God’s love for us is real- it is true.  He has plans for us- good and pleasant purposes to use us and fill us and change us and bless us.  It’s all true, and we know it’s true because He has already paid the most costly of prices to ensure that His purposes for us will prevail.  So we must first recognize that the dream is real, and second let us like David swap out our realities.  What you see around you now; the trials you face, the enemies that surround you, and the nightmares you often live in; these things are but a momentary mist and will soon fade as quickly as the dream leaves us in the morning.  The trials we face won’t last but the plans and the purposes of God stand forever.  Hold fast, my friends, to the reality of His ever-present love for the night is almost over and we will awake to a new day where we will see Him in glory. Won’t you pray this with me, “Dear Lord, help me to live each new day rejoicing as David did to know that Your loving presence and purposes are with me always.  Help me to remember that the nightmares of this life are but light and momentary afflictions which You are using to achieve in me an eternal weight of glory that far outshines them all! Amen.”