He awoke suddenly, startled into full consciousness from a deep sleep. It was the reverberation of the dream that had roused him. He blinked and turned onto his back. From experience, he knew that when he awoke right after having a dream that he could remember that dream, but this was different. It was as though the memory had preceded the waking. It had been so intense, so vivid, so full of implications that weren’t apparent at the moment. So…….. intentional………
He had just opened the door to one of the stalls in Grandpa’s old red barn so that he could get his riding mower and cut the grass around the house. He had paused for a moment, turning to enjoy the clear blueness of the Spring sky and the excited singing of the birds, when he saw her walking toward him from the direction of the house. His beautiful young wife was smiling as she approached. She was full of life and showed it in the confident way she carried her tall, slim frame, and in the way she was dressed. Today she was wearing a black, form-fitting dress with white trim circling the neckline, the sleeves, and the bottom hem. There was quite a contrast between her dress and his short-sleeved blue work shirt, jeans, and boots, as well as between her light hair and eyes that matched the sky, and his dark hair and deep brown eyes. As she came closer, he remembered that she had a Ladies’ Group meeting at church at ten o’clock this morning. She was coming out here to say goodbye. That was sweet of her. He felt his love for her welling up as it always did at the mere sight or thought of her. He ‘drank in’ her look, from her long, straight, light brown hair, to her blue eyes, to her amazing lips framing an even more amazing smile. He also ‘drank in’ the look in her eyes. The look of love she usually had for him was unusually intense this morning! It was remarkably deep, even mysteriously so. Enthusiastically ardent. Strongly, deeply emotional. Then the touch of her hands on his face was tender, implying a deep spiritual desire; her kiss, intimately personal, fervently powerful, her affection fiercely burning, evoking blazing bonfires and wild horses galloping, their muscles rippling. Enigmatically, mysteriously inexplicable, it was. He had heard of unconditional love, but this time it was palpable – graspable in a new way, and solidly unchangeable. And now the surfaces and interfaces between them were disappearing and they were somehow moving into each other, not necessarily becoming one, not this moment, but inhabiting one another completely. This was the way they both wanted to stay forever. This was love. Maybe seconds, maybe millennia later, she withdrew from the embrace, running her hands down his arms. Squeezing each others’ hands, they still inhabited each other – occupied each other, their eyes locked, arms still reaching toward the other. Transfixed in wonder, he had never known such a loving feeling directed toward himself. He watched her turn………. and then he was awake and alone in awe and frustration in his dark bedroom.
The dream, itself had only lasted a few seconds. Short, as dreams go, it was over much too quickly. “And, how strange,” he thought, as he reflected on it. “We were so young………..”
He was sixty-eight now. Grandpa had been dead for fifty years. After Grandpa had passed on, his dad and he had taken over the farm Grandpa built. Four-hundred acres of row crops, pastures, livestock facilities, and grain storage buildings had been a handful. After Mom died, Dad was never the same. His windmill no longer turned in the wind and he had died too. Then he, Dave, and his new wife, Mary, had run the place until it became too much for them and they leased out the croplands on shares. He still called it “Grandpa’s farm”, though, and the barn was still “Grandpa’s barn”. That part was true to life, but in the dream he was young, and the worst part of all was that the young ‘wife’ in the dream was not Mary………. . Mary had been beautiful, yes, but she’d had dark hair and hazel eyes. And she had died three years ago. But his dream had seemed so real. The girl was a stranger, yet had ‘really been’ his wife. It was like another reality – a different life. And her love – the love between them was real – overwhelmingly real. “Get a hold of yourself, Dave,” he muttered to himself.
“Ohhhh God, You know I’ve been so lonely, why would You do this to me? It felt like I was cheating on the memory of my Mary. What was the good in that?
Why would You show me a love like that, so intense, so powerful, when even my true love, Mary, and I hardly ever had moments that deep?”
He thought about the overwhelming, intensely deep, real love he had experienced in the dream. He wanted that so badly. How could a man taste that and not pursue it forever? His silent inner-weeping welled up.
“Ohhhh, Lord ………..”
Then a quiet voice spoke so intensely into his soul that his whole body jerked:
“That’s The Way I Love You” …………….
The revelation swirled through him, his whole being tingling. The realization that it was true permeated his being with a warm joy, a welcome peace……..
“Ohhhh, my Lord, I never knew it was like that.”
His whole being was being flooded with astoundingly wonderful word-pictures. The Lover and the Beloved. Visions filled with fragrance, with music, with flavor, and color:
Love’s deep, yearning pursuit…….
Love’s deep, longing, desire……….
Love’s deep summoning……………..
Love’s deep, fiery-wild embrace…..
Love’s deep, caring concern…………
Love’s deep, all-inhabiting indwelling.
Love’s deep Romance……………………..
“Your Deep, YOURS, my Lord …………………….. Oh, how You romance us! And that is only part of it, isn’t it. That’s only the tip of the iceberg that my human heart can perceive, isn’t it? But….. but, Lord, I still don’t understand why You didn’t use my Mary to show me……………………..”
“You had to know the difference.”
…………………………………………….“ Yes, You are sufficient, Lord. I’ve been needing something, but I just didn’t know what. I feel a lot better, Lord, and I thank You. You love me that much?
“Now and evermore have I loved you both.”
I only wish I could return that kind of love”………..
”You can, in your way. It is within you.”
He tried and tried to find the right words to describe the miraculous encounter, the precious revelation. How could he tell it to others? Love’s selfless deep? Love’s wondrous deep? Love’s unreserved deep? Love’s unconditional deep? It was so mind-boggling. Love’s fathomless deep! Yes that’s it!
“Be vigilant, child. Your commission is set. Now find your new heart.”
He tried to go back to sleep and continue the dream. Once in a great while, that actually worked………..…………………
The next morning was Sunday morning. He got ready for church with a new passion for praise and worship of his Almighty Loving Father and Savior. He had a feeling that this service would be special.
He was drawn to sit toward the back of the auditorium, on the left side. He usually sat in the center, but the center seemed too crowded. As the soft pre-worship music permeated the large space, he became aware of the conversation of the two ladies who sat in front of him. He was not one to eavesdrop, yet he couldn’t help but gather bits and pieces of their conversation, mostly from the one on the right who spoke rather too loudly and too much. He determined that the lady on the left, who was more soft-spoken, was visiting from out-of-state. She seemed about his age. There was something about a young man, possibly her son. Something was all wrong. He was in love with the wrong girl, perhaps. He saw a tear roll down her cheek, and heard the words “lonely”, and “Joe”, and, “ intense personal relationship”, and “ he loves so deeply”.
“Looks like I’m not the only one thinking about love today,” he thought.
The worship songs were fervent and meaningful. The message by Pastor DeWayne wasn’t about love, as he had expected, but was about rescue and redemption, which, when he thought about it, had a lot to do with love. The end of the service was coming too quickly for him.“Now it’s time to stand and form groups of three or more to pray for each other,” said the pastor. Since Dave was part of the church’s prayer team, he knew what to do. There was no-one close except for the two ladies in front of him, so he leaned forward and said, “How can I pray for you sisters this morning? My name is Dave. Do you have any prayer needs? I, personally have some back pain I could use some intercession for, but mostly I have praises.”
“Oh, I have some arther-itis in my fingers that’s been botherin’ me,” stated the one on the right, the louder and shorter of the two, “I’m Betty and this is Sarah. She’s from Texas, ya know,” she inserted, before the taller, more reserved woman could respond. “Pleased to meet you,” everyone said at once.
“Let’s join hands, if that’s all right, and form a circle. You know Jesus said that wherever two or three or more gather in His name, He will be there in their midst.” They did, and Dave poured himself into praying for Betty’s fingers, and into praises for their Lord. Betty prayed about Dave’s back, rather too long. “Amen,” Dave smiled to himself when she finished.
“Sarah, you haven’t said much. You don’t have to be shy around here. Isn’t there something we can pray for you?”
“Well, it’s complicated, but I think I’m okay. Thank you so much for the thought. I have mostly praises myself, like you said.”
“No she’s not okay,” blurted Betty. “She’s all in a tizzy because she dreamed of this young man last night and she felt like she was cheatin’ on the memory of her husband, Joe. On top of that, she’s been beside herself with loneliness – jist emptiness, poor thing, since Joe passed. Could we please talk to God about that?”
“I can relate, Sarah,” Dave said softly with compassion, “I lost my wife, Mary, too.” He felt Sarah’s discomfort. The hand he was holding began to sweat and so did his. Her hand was so soft……. . What Betty had said began to sink in.
“I told you all that in confidence, Betty,” she said calmly, “But you missed the point. God used that dream to show me His immense love for me, and I’m at peace now. She looked at her hand in Dave’s. His hand was so strong…… . She began to blush. Dave looked at her face. She was downright pretty! That smile looked very familiar. His face began to flush.
“Uhhhh, what’s goin’ on here,” Betty demanded.
Dave noticed that he had dropped Betty’s hand and that he was holding Sarah’s in both of his.
What was going on? Dave’s eyes met Sarah’s clear blue eyes and hers met his deep browns. And in that moment they knew their new hearts.
“Sarah, did you, by any chance, ever have a black dress with white trim?”
Her eyes began to fill with tears. “Did you ever have an old barn?”
“Yes, and I still have it!” they both exclaimed.
(“Now and evermore, I have loved you both, He said.”)
With that, an increasing knowing passed between them and they began the long fall into the Deep of one another. No, not the depths. That’s another thing. The Deep – not a place, but a state of being! It was the manifestation of His all-encompassing, all-pursuing, all-inhabiting Romance imparted from God to person and from person to person, the Deep calling to the Deep , the Deep occupying the Deep, the Deep exquisitely alive in the Deep!
“Selfless Deep?” Dave asked, wide-eyed.
“Yes. Wondrous Deep?”
“That’s right. Unreserved? Unconditional?”
“Love’s Fathomless Deep?” They both began to giggle like children.
By now, Betty was beside herself, feeling very left out. “You two know each other, right? Or is this some kind of coincidence? You’re speakin’ your own language. Please, give me a clue.”
“More like a Godincidence, Betty,” quipped Dave without ever taking his gaze from Sarah’s eyes.
“My friend, we have a lot to explain. We will fix your befuddlement,” said Sarah warmly. “I met Dave last night in my – our – miraculous dream, then in person just now. We knew each other – know each other. It’s hard to explain but we have been given something, and have been shown something very special that is going to knock your socks off! First we will tell you all about it, then we will tell the whole world. Spreading the message of His universal love for His people is the mission He is calling us into as we speak. It’s as though He is outfitting us with everything we need for a long journey. He is strengthening our connection with each passing second.”
(“Your commission is set, He said”)
“That’s the truth, my dear. Let me take you both to lunch and we will fill you in, Betty,” Dave proposed, never letting go of Sarah’s hand. “Sister, God’s love for each of us is so much, well, more than we ever thought, or knew. You’re not going to believe the way God loves you, and He’s telling us that we could use your personal testimony as an eye witness to our miracle as we travel, if you are feeling the strong pull of the Holy Spirit in that direction.”
“If only you knew,” now Betty’s emotions were rising. “I’ve been needin’ something myself. Been feelin’ restless, and I’ve been havin’ thoughts and dreams and ideas about goin’ out and tellin’ the good news of Jesus. I never much thought I would be a good evangelist, but the good Lord has been preparin’ me in little ways that I didn’t much notice until now. I had a feelin’ He would send somebody to me sooner or later. That’s the way He works. He sends jist the right person at jist the right time. His timing is always good. I was kinda hopin’ for Him to send a sister………..or a man……………but, anyway, I cain’t wait to hear what He revealed to you two. I love to hear personal testimonies and you must have a doozie! I love to tell mine too. It’s jist little and simple, but there is great power even in a little story about Him. Yep, I think the fields are white for the pickin’ and I’m ready to go, I’m ready to learn and grow and give my life to Kingdom work! Oh! Praise the Lord, I’m so blessed! Yes! I’m up for lunch and I cain’t hardly wait to learn from you two. This is my calling, I jist know it! You’re not gonna believe how much I like to talk. Prolly too much! Oh, my heavens, I’m doin’ it again aren’t I? Hahahaha!”
Dave and Sarah smiled intently as they heard every word Betty said, hearts beating wildly, hand in hand, and all the while immersed in the rich, deep, love inside each-other’s eyes.
Copyright © by Lenn Snider 5-3-2012
All Rights Reserved