Saturday, March 14, 2015

Making life count

I had a nightmare last night, and it was a strange one, so I thought I would share my thoughts about it.  Last night, I dreamed that I was at a modern day slave auction where children of all ages were being sold into slavery, but I was there secretly with some organization which helped free slaves.  The organization I was with had given me 10,000 dollars to try to outbid other buyers, in order to purchase the freedom of as many children as I possibly could.  Well, the first child that went on the block was a sickly young boy, and the auctioneer commented on how pathetic he looked, and how worthless he probably was.  So I immediately angered the auctioneer when I spoke up and said if he was so pathetic, maybe they should just give him away to me.  For the rest of my dream, I attempted to bid on children to get them out of slavery, but time after time the auctioneer would gleefully ignore me or just preen at me when I was outbid.  Finally, an infant went on the auction block, or so I thought (I saw an infant, but did not hear what was said.)  In any case, I was DETERMINED I would win this time.  So I bid and bid, and finally I won the auction. For a moment, I was ecstatic that finally, for all my effort, I would SAVE one life.  But it turned out I had misunderstood the auctioneer, and bid a wastefully high amount on something that wasn't even a person.  The auctioneer, and others around me, laughed at me for being so foolish.  I can't even describe the depth of agony I felt at that moment.  It seemed so real.  I felt a complete and utter failure.  At that point, I woke up because I broke down in tears and felt such agony that I started crying for real, and this was what ended my dream.

Why do I care about something that didn't really happen?  I know it was just a dream.  But I think it was also my brain contemplating very great questions and dilemmas I face in real life, and acknowledging the deepest fears that I have.  First of all, I view trafficking and slavery as one of the greatest evils of our day, so I am sure that represents the battles I wage over much sin and evil, both within myself and within the world at large.  And then there is my fear that I will waste my life on some task or focus that is insignificant.  I thought today about how poorly and desperately conceived  a method of abolition it would be to attempt to buy people out of slavery individually, rather than fighting the entire system.  But when fighting evil, if that is all you have at your disposal to fight with, you use what you have.  So while the method was poor, it was still better than just standing by and watching without helping.  But ultimately, I felt such grief because I had wasted money on something that turned out to be worthless, and still helped not a single, solitary soul.

That is the fear I struggle against:being a failure in the things that matter, not just to me but to God.  I want so desperately to make sure that I am a trustworthy steward of the things that the Lord has given to me, so that in the end of my life, when I see Him face to face, He will be able to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Sometimes the greatest battles of life are fought on what appears to be common grounds, not sacred ones, and we find out only later that perhaps they WERE sacred, and we hallowed or defiled them based on a single, solitary decision that seemed trivial at the time.  Decisions we make sometimes thoughtlessly and carelessly,  like what media with which we will entertain ourselves, or whether we will stop to help someone in need when it's inconvenient, or whether we stand silent when another is unjustly treated, or even whether we pour our energy into  one pursuit or another without ever asking the Creator of the Universe what His will would be, rather than our own.

Another fear I struggle with is one that ties in to the first fear, but is very specific, and that is the fear of not finding the place God made me to be fruitful for Him when I function there.  I believe people have different talents and gifts, and when we determine what God has made us to do, and do it for His glory, only THEN will we experience the fullness of His purposes for us, and the joy we were meant to experience in relationship with Him.  Perhaps this is silly, but sometimes I am afraid that I am spending too much time and effort on all these things I am not that good at, and never functioning in the the THING, whatever that is, that if I figured it out, would make me feel less like a fish trying to ride a bicycle and more like a fish in water.   I don't know if this is right thinking, mind you.  It's something I am still praying out with God, and seeking answers from Him about.  But it's a struggle I have.  I do believe that God is faithful, and I believe I will find the answers I seek as I seek him with my whole heart.  And when I get in His presence and spend time in His word, all of my fears melt away.  He is Love, and love always casts out fear.  It is the truth of Him I know in His word that will always set me free.  That much I know. 

I thought of that dream today, and it's funny how grieved I was over those children I couldn't free.  Sometimes my heart does break for the way that mankind is constantly finding new and terrible ways to hurt each other with sin.  But I have to believe that the small efforts I make, though they seem so insignificant, are meaningful and deeply significant.  I place my hope not in my pitiful efforts, but in the ONE who sanctifies and blesses them.  And ultimately, more than my feelings, I trust His word, the Bible. 

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