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Sand in My Shoes, Fire in My Dreams


It was past midnight when I finished the post about cacti blooming and Moses encountering the burning bush in the desert.  I had been walking in a cold desert of my own, a time of little inspiration or spiritual insight.  I had no expectation of cactus blossoms or fiery bushes, but that night, to my surprise,

I dreamed a dream.

It was one of those dreams where I was a college student again, and things were not going well.  Perhaps you’ve had this kind of nightmare with variations on the theme of failing in college:  you forgot to study for the important test, you forgot there was a test, or (worst of all) you forgot you’d signed up for the class and had never attended.

In this version of the bad dream I was taking a class on the “Law,” and I wasn’t doing well.  I had neglected to complete assignments, had arrived late to classes, and had little comprehension of the subject.  I had a “skull full of mush.”  I was failing.

The man playing the role of the professor in my dream is an actor known for many Westerns in which he dourly dispenses justice with his gun.  I expected to be “shot down”  at any time.  I was terrified of the teacher.

The tenor of the dream changed when the professor came to visit me and saw my pathetic, college-student apartment.  He understood my struggles with his class and had compassion on me.  Before he left he kissed me on the cheek.  I was shocked and overwhelmed by his caring and tenderness.

By the time I arrived on campus for the next class (late again), the chairs were all filled.  Instead of rebuking me, the professor gave me his own seat.

That’s all I remember from the dream now, and the details are growing hazy.  I’m so grateful that

I dreamed a dream

of fear turned to love,

of a God who understands that I’m made of dust (Psalm 103:14), that I’m a pitiful failure at keeping the Law.


I dreamed a dream

of a God who comes to visit where I live and who shares his seat with me (Rev. 3:21).

Instead of justice, I received grace.  Instead of retribution, I received mercy.  (Luke 15:20)


I had no idea that the words I’d written Saturday would be fulfilled by the time the sun rose Sunday:

“It’s worth the wait, though, worth the desert walk to see a burning bush.”

Many people have chosen or listened to God’s prompting to choose a word of focus, inspiration, or challenge for 2014.  The word I chose (weeks before this dream) was “love.”  I want to understand and experience God’s love in new ways, and He was good to answer the desire of my heart before I even knew how to word it as a prayer.

I dreamed a dream

of a burning bush, and so I’ll take off my shoes, shake out the sand.  I’m in awe.  I’m on holy ground.


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