I woke up from a dream last night, unlike anything I had ever experienced. In the dream, my wife had murdered someone. It was not something she did with premeditation, but nevertheless, there was judgment coming her way. It was a vivid dream, where the colors were intense and setting a tone of sadness and sticking realism.
As Sarah (my wife) was about to be arrested and sentenced for murder, I stepped in and said that I would not allow her to bear the punishment, but I would take it for her. Yes, she had murdered someone, and yes she was deserving of the consequences, but I wouldn’t allow it, and the court allowed me to take her place. I was arrested, taken away from my home and placed in a cell.
There was one specific scene in the dream that was especially striking; the conversation between Sarah and myself when I told her that I would not allow her to bear this punishment. She did not want me to be taken from her, nor from the kids, but, along with this apprehension, there was a response of appreciation. That word, appreciation, might not even capture it right. It was gut wrenching for her, but she knew that it was necessary for her to receive this gift offered to her.
I stood in my cell, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit (Apparently I have seen SING too many times with my kids) and weeping in the prison cell. It was unnerving how real the feelings in this dream were. The tears were not because I was scared, nor that I was upset that I was receiving this punishment. It was right, it was good, but it hurt. I could feel the weight of not living life with my kids any longer. I could feel the weight of confinement and loneliness weighing upon me. I wept, bitterly.
At this moment I woke. In my bed lying with my head on my pillow, I woke bitterly crying just as I had been in my dream. I was not weeping because I believed the dream to be real but because of the realization of what I was seeing. What I was feeling. God was speaking to me and in the most personal of ways. I was getting just a glimpse into Good Friday for my Saviour.
Now, I know that you’re not reading this with judgment, but I feel it necessary to say how impossible it is to compare what I felt and experienced in this dream with the reality of the cross. There is no equality between these two things, but I felt God using it nonetheless. See, I was about to lead our Good Friday service only hours later. I was about to stand at the foot of the cross and look to my Saviour who hung there for me. Once again, I was going to receive from his choice to take my punishment. God wanted me to have a glimpse, and it was just that. Just a tiny momentary glimpse of Christ’s choice for me.
I don’t compare my dream to the reality of the cross. I am more aware than ever before, though. I am struck by Christ’s sacrifice, by the pain he felt for me. The pain that I caused him.
My sin. My shame.
I stand amazed.
When I woke in the morning, I looked to my prayer book, and this prayer stood out to me. I have been praying it over all day. Each line with a different, and important truth.
“Christ our teacher, for our sake you were obedient even to accepting death, teach us to obey the Father’s will in all things.
Christ our life, by your death on the cross you destroyed the power of evil and death, may we die with you, to rise with you in glory.
Christ our King, you became an outcast among us, a worm and no man, teach us the humility by which you saved the world.
Christ our salvation, you gave yourself up to death out of love for us, help us to show your love to one another.
Christ our Savior, on the cross you embraced all time with your outstretched arms, unite God’s scattered children in your kingdom of salvation.”
I hope today you understand and feel the Good in this Friday.