Living The Dream
Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth,
with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God
were ascending and descending on it.
Go Deep: Leo Burnett was an advertising executive named by Time magazine as one of the twenty most influential people of the twentieth century. He created such memorable icons as the Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and my personal favorite, Charlie the Tuna. Leo once said, “When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” I like that!
One of the delightful gifts God has given mankind is the ability to dream—to see into that which is not yet, to envision a brighter tomorrow, to reach for the stars. And though our dreaming and our reaching may be perverted by human pride, selfishness and greed, even still, the very capacity to dream has been implanted in our DNA by the Creator to remind us of the kind of inexpressibly delightful world he once created for us, and will recreate for his redeemed children in the age to come.
And once in a while, God gives us a dream. We have other dreams, of course, not from God but rather birthed out of our own life experience, recent (or even archived) sensory intake, or perhaps from too much pizza the night before. But on occasion, God will allow our mind to slip into that unseen, spiritual dimension through a vision, or more likely, a dream, where we get a sneak peak into God’s reality. Usually that experience will be a bit blurry, since human beings typically have a wee bit of trouble wrapping their minds around such infinite things, but our spirits are left uplifted by it nonetheless.
God gave Jacob quite a dream—one of heaven intersecting earth in which the angels of God traveled back and forth, presumably to ensure that God’s will would be carried out in Jacob’s life. (Genesis 28:12) The dream also included God himself promising to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant through Jacob as well as a reminder of God’s presence and protection for Jacob as he journeyed through life. (Genesis 28:13-15)
For Jacob, this dream became a truly defining moment. He named the place of the dream Bethel—the house of God—and he built an altar of remembrance there. Later, after God had fulfilled many of the dream’s promises, Jacob returned to Bethel (Genesis 35), which now was a sort of spiritual touchstone, an ongoing reminder of God’s sovereign right to rule over Jacob’s life and his promise to graciously and generous provide Jacob with all he needed and desired. Bethel kept Jacob reaching for the stars even while he was trudging through the mud.
The whole point of this dream was to reveal to Jacob what God was already doing—guiding, providing and protecting Jacob on his journey, even when Jacob was unaware or unable to see the Invisible Hand. So what does that mean for you and me? Simply that God-inspired dreams might be nice, but our faith doesn’t need to rest on them. What God might graciously reveal in a dream is simply what God is doing 24/7 in your life anyway.
Award-wining journalist Belva Davis said, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.” Even better, through Jacob, God’s word says to you, “Don’t fear the space between your reality and God’s promises.” You see, when you are walking with God, you are living the dream!
Just Saying… Don’t fear the space between your dreams and your reality—God is there. Faith is not dependent on dreams, neither is it dissuaded by reality. Faith trusts in the God who says, “Do not be afraid, I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)