I had a dream last night that shook me up pretty good. I was in a something like a warehouse, and a man walked in bound by chains and was led to a big pile of wood. I realized that this was some sort of “criminal” and he was going to be executed. When he got to the wood pyre, he brazenly grabbed a big bowl of oil and dumped it over his head, as if to say, “bring it on.” He was laughing and joking as his executioner approached him and lit the fire beneath him. At first, he kept it together, and even as the fire began to get to him, he shouted out jokes–things like, “I’m melting! What a world, what a world!” ala Wizard of Oz. But then, suddenly, what was happening to him became real, and that’s when the screaming started.
The last thing I remember this person screaming will haunt me for months to come. He burned for what seemed an eternity, and all the while, he just kept shrieking at the top of his lungs, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”
Then I woke up.
I knew this was a “God dream”, where the Lord is trying to communicate something specific to me. I have these occasionally, and they all feel the same, and I can always remember every detail for quite some time. So I laid in bed, asking Him what it meant. Slowly, as if He was peeling back the cloud cover of my brain, He showed me.
I’ve never been one to contemplate or even really talk about hell. It’s not really on the top of my short list of things to think about. Growing up in the church, I knew the basics–if you don’t believe in Jesus, you go to hell. Heck, that’s a major reason I BECAME a Christian when I was a kid. I was just scared to death. But over the years, you tend to lose sight of the “end game” so to speak, and you certainly grow callous to it. Just as Furious Love was born out of my own need to really see and understand what the love of God looked like and was made of, here, in my dream, God was reminding me of the urgency of His message.
The world (another cliche-addled word for the lifelong Christian) has not only rejected Him, but has become brazen and cavalier in their rejection. It’s not enough to just not believe anymore, “evangelical atheists” are becoming more and more vocal in their disdain and vitriol against Christ and his followers.
What the Lord was showing me in this dream was simply a glimpse of His heart for all men. Even as they pour their own flammable liquid over their heads and dare Him to do something, He is still their Daddy. He sees them as a Daddy sees His kids. And He loves them to the very end. But a choice is a choice, and choices have consequences. In the end, He is not choosing to reject us, we are choosing to reject Him. I have heard many arguments from non-believers asking how a loving God could damn so many people to hell. I would simply ask the same question. How could a rational human being choose to damn themselves from a generous, loving God? Is retaining control of your own life that important? Is remaining in sin patterns that important? Have you been hurt by the church so badly that you can no longer see your Daddy through all of His stupid kids who make mistakes?
I will never again forget the screams I heard in my head last night. As we at Wanderlust move forward in the various projects that are in front of us in 2011 (two films, a cartoon, a book, the Furious Love Event, and a possible TV show), I am reminded of the urgency of the Message.
It’s just too bad I needed to fall asleep to see it.