And I — in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalms 17:15) (NIV)
I willed my life force past my face and lifted off the ground. Soaring above people, trees, and hills, a power line appeared. I gauged the obstruction’s height and pushed higher to let it pass beneath. But there were more wires. As I attempted to fly through the maze, my strength ebbed and I couldn’t stay above the tangle.
This is the reoccurring dream that has thrilled and frustrated me since childhood. It represents my joy at rising above earthly life through the Holy Spirit, but I can never overcome the obstructions of sinfulness.
The fact that we dream points to an enormous life in paradise, as though the concept of dreaming is a metaphor for temporal life. Dreams are mere garbled shadows of our waking hours, and this life only provides fragmented hints at what is to come. When I am sleeping, the dream seems real enough, just as earthly life feels like the genuine article. And yet, compared to the solidity of paradise, it’s a smattering of vaporous episodes.
The scale that measures wakefulness divides our sleepy fog into one thousand layers. As we progress upward, each stratum is thinner than the last. The bottom layer lies heavy against the ground when we’re in deep slumber. Our dream state hovers around the tenth layer, while our daily lives function at the hundredth layer. There are still nine hundred grades of wakefulness above us before we burst into the clarity of heaven.
One day Jesus will call my name, and I will wake. I will finally leave the entanglements of my old dreams about wires, and my earthly life, far below. I will continue to wake, rushing upward through nine hundred layers of alertness. Then, I will be satisfied with seeing his radiant face.
Prayer: Jesus, it’s sweet to dream of the moment when I’ll awake.