Monday, April 14, 2008

And The Cross Was Empty (Part 1 - The Dream)

I was hurt and angry.

I was confused and full of pain.

Out of that hurt and anger, I rebelled against God.

I didn't know how to overcome the hurt I was feeling. So, I reached out to the things of the world to try to feel better.

Thankfully, I'm not much of a drinker or someone who has ever been attracted to drugs because I can understand the type of pain and heartache that might lead someone to either or both.

If you are a Christian, you may relate to this blog. If you are not a Christian, you may relate to this blog.

Hurt and pain, trials and tribulations are common to us all.

However, the actions we take while experiencing them is what can either divide us or bring us together.

This story is about months of agony in my life in 1991. The point of despair I was at did not happen through just one experience, but had been building through a series of painful events.

One night as I lay in bed in my commuter apartment in San Francisco, I silently cried out to God.

In anger, hurt, deep pain and frustration, I silently screamed to God, "I really do love you, but I'm hurting so badly. Don't you feel my pain? Don't you feel my tears?"

And with that I rolled over and fell asleep.

That night I received one of the greatest revelations of my life.

That night Jesus came to me in a dream.

I was standing in front of my bedroom closet in the house where I grew up.

As I was standing in front of my closet searching for something, my dad entered the room. Without any words spoken, he freely handed me a gift and then left the room.

The gift was a Christmas tree ornament.

I thought this was strange because it was not Christmastime, but as I stood there with the ornament in my hands I began to notice how unusual the ornament was. It didn't look like any Christmas tree ornament I had ever seen before. It was a musical carousel, but there were angels where horses would normally be.

As I was studying the carousel, it disappeared right before my eyes.

At the same time the carousel disappeared, I heard a great wind rushing through the leaves of the maple tree outside my bedroom window.

I walked over to the window to see what was happening. The leaves of the tree were golden and they were blowing back and forth.

Upon looking more closely at the leaves, I realized they were not leaves at all, but cherubs. And there in the middle of all the cherubs was my Christmas tree ornament.

As if floating on air, the ornament began moving from the center of the cherubs toward my bedroom window. Backing away from the window, I no longer saw the ornament coming toward me, but Jesus coming toward me.

As He reached out to take my face in His hands, I saw a tear rolling down His cheek. With the greatest compassion He said, "I feel every one of your tears."

I stood there in silence too moved to speak.

I heard the wind blowing again and Jesus was back out at the tree. I ran to the window only to get there in time to see what had been cherubs turn back into beautiful leaves on the maple tree.

I slowly turned from the window and looked back to my closet.

There on the floor was the Christmas tree ornament.

End of dream.

The night that dream came to me was over seventeen years ago and God continues to reveal different aspects of His message to me in that dream.

But what was planted in my heart THAT night was the seed of understanding the great mercy of God.

Through pain and frustration, I cried out to God and He sent me Jesus...again.

The tears flowing out of the eyes of Jesus were the result of my pain.

My God feels my pain. What a revelation.


I was a backslidden Christian who knew little of the power of the Word of God. I was hurting and I was angry. I felt shame and guilt and I didn't know how to make it go away.

In honesty, I went to God.

He didn't come at me with a big stick and a growl. He didn't come to me with a list of demands I must meet. He didn't come to me with disgust.

I went to Him in anger and He came to me in love with outstretched arms and in tears bearing my pain.

Luke 15: 1-7 tells us: Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not repent."

Perhaps you are hurting or a backslidden Christian like I was. Maybe you are angry or frustrated.

Whatever your situation is, no matter how ugly it may be, NOTHING is too big for Jesus.

Go to Him in honesty and He will meet you just like He did me.

Call out to Jesus now. There is power in His name.

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