Pandemic Dreams

My pandemic dreams are getting wilder and louder. Some mornings I wake up exhausted by my dream-saturated sleep. Even in my tiredness, I am grateful for the silence that wakefulness brings. My deep consciousness is flooded with turbulence. I have read that others are experiencing this as well. How about you?

We understand that dreams are the mind’s way of unburdening itself of the daily pressures and disturbances that get shoved away throughout the day so that we can focus on what is at hand. Some posit that dreams are a form of memory processing, or are a type of protective act, i.e. a way to prepare the brain for danger and challenges. In any case, it stands to reason that the current pandemic would result in people having vivid dreams all night long.

In 1 Peter, we read a beautiful picture of life being ”a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.” That image is profound for us pandemic people. Oh, how we long to replace our deep consciousness of despair with the deep consciousness of God’s peace!

And I like that it reminds us that this is a journey, which implies that there is a destination. I am ready, as I’m sure you are, for us to ARRIVE at the end. Let me off this bus!!

Even better, we find God on this journey:

1 Peter 1 (The Message)

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

18-21 Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought.

YOU are not an afterthought to God. You call out to him for help, and he responds like the good, responsible father that he is. He has removed us from our sloppy, dead-end, empty-headed way of life.

Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

Don’t miss that…we have a future in God. This is comforting news in the midst of recent information that we might see a spike in COVID cases in the fall. A second wave may be imminent, and we are so weary of the first. But hang on. We have a future in God.

22-25 Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word.

What must change immediately is that we must “love one another as if our lives depend on it.” We are utterly failing at this. The vitriol, anger, and downright hatred that we see every day on our streets, on the news, and especially on social media must stop. We condemn ourselves with every post.

Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life,
    its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
    God’s Word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

Today is a day to seek the deep consciousness of God. Today is an opportunity to allow God’s Word of hope, salvation, and unconditional love to bring forth a new life in us.

THIS is what I dream of: a world-wide community unified as one body, loving each other through this pandemic, and offering only words of comfort and peace to each other until this is over.

What do you dream of? Are you experiencing disturbing dreams right now? Do you wake up tired? Do you long for peace?

Listen. Stay in the Word, and get out of the world. Find ways, especially at bedtime, to turn everything off and go deep into the consciousness of God. Pray like you’ve never prayed before.

God will deliver us, of that I am sure. The Word will bring new life in us.

Sweet Dreams by Becca Ziegler

Ordinary Life

Within a very brief period of time, things around the world have gone upside down. Australia is on fire, 180 people were shot down from the sky during a missile strike by Iran on Iraq, my own denomination is moving forward toward an historic and inevitable split, Puerto Rico suffered damaging earthquakes, and our government is in turmoil. We can hardly wake up in the morning without yet another unthinkable world situation coming out that seems to blow up the last one that we haven’t had time to assimilate. I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep up. I am beginning to think that Chicken Little was right; the sky indeed, is falling.

I hope that you all know that when such widespread disaster strikes, we can read scripture, pray, find opportunities to actively respond in tangible ways, and be obedient to the place God is calling us into in the midst of the storm. Without a doubt, one place we are NOT called to be is on the negative side of all these issues as explored through social media. Nothing EVER gets worked out there. No good comes from pot-stirring, endless speculation, name-calling, and spreading misinformation. There are so many better ways to respond. Here is just one:

Romans 12 The Message (MSG)

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.

What would happen if we all took our ordinary lives and placed them before God as an offering? What would it look like if we eschewed the social media culture that we fit into without thinking, and instead fixed our attention on God? Are we too well-adjusted to this culture of hate-spewing and fact-mangling that we don’t even seek the truth?

If we took our everyday life and laid it before God each morning, do you think God would say, “Thanks for that! Now feel free to spend two and a half hours today (the current average daily social media use) of this precious time bashing one another on social media.” I don’t think so. I think he would encourage us to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, comfort the lonely, bring water to the thirsty, and walk the shelter dogs. OK, I added that last part, but you get the gist.

In the midst of all of this recent, tremendously disconcerting strife, choose a better path. Lay your life before God and do something CONSTRUCTIVE and positive, and embrace what God is doing for you.

He is ready to change you from the inside out, and he wants something from you. Can you respond to him?

When we bring all that we are and all that we have and give it to God, we embrace all that he has given us and live our lives in the manner he desires from us. It is then that we are walking in the will and the way of the Lord.

So here’s a thought. Stay off social media for 24 hours. Take that two and a half hours and do something positive with it. Then see how you feel about the world around you.

Time spent in the silence of God’s presence is always time well spent. May you find peace, hope, and contentment there.

Finding God in the Quiet by Becca Ziegler