Friday, September 20, 2013

I Found Myself Running in Lehi's Dream

With the storm that swooped in last night and the forecast for continuous rain through the night and day, I put my mind at ease as I laid down and resolved to take a pass on running in the morning. My body and my soul had other ideas. I awoke at 3:30 AM, again, and had this nagging feeling I needed to get up and have a run.

I checked outside and yep, it was still raining. It looked like there would be plenty of puddles to avoid to keep my feet dry'ish, and I wasn't all that motivated to get drenched on a run. But the Lord prompted me to go, and when He prompts it's best to listen and obey (it's taken me a long time to get to that point).

I set out in a familiar route but as I neared a trail-head the Lord again whispered to follow the trail. I did so and continued on in the dark. No full moonlight to light my path, the surrounding neighborhood street lamp lights' were dampened by the pouring rain and the darkness of the wet pavement reflect nothing of the little light that did exist.

As I ran along I settled in and began reviewing the day's lesson, thinking over scriptures as they jostled around in my head as though each lunge forward were causing the words to bounce in my mind. But as my concentration improved I began to "treasure up continually the words of eternal life" and my heart became gladdened.

No sooner had I found this joy than I looked to the right and was amazed at what I saw. The path upon which I ran paralleled a normally dry creek bed overgrown with brush and small trees (it's Texas, there really are few trees larger than small here). But when my eyes caught hold upon the creek near the trail, I noticed it had swelled to a small river and had over run it's boundaries. No sooner had I noticed the enormity of the rushing water than my mind recalled Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life and the symbolism therein. My mind immediately recalled the river that ran along side of the path and I nearly exclaimed the rushing water before me to be the filthy river from the dream. I then realized that I was running on the path and that while I was treasuring up the Lord's words I was literally holding fast to the rod of iron.
I WAS RUNNING IN LEHI's DREAM come to Texas. My heart jumped with joy. I looked to the right of the river and noticed a set of commercial businesses with low lighting that I immediately associated to the great and spacious building, though admittedly not even the people of the world were insane enough to be mocking me this early in the morning.

Upon recognition of these symbols, I desired greatly to find the Tree of Life. I began searching towards the end of the path and saw some street lamps but nothing great enough to shine so exquisitely bright and attract the faith of the believers to come and partake of the fruit. I was almost disappointed that this portion, the most import part of the dream, wasn't expressed in my living experience of the dream.

At one point the creek-turned-river had crescendo to the point of covering the path in about 6 inches of water, of which I high stepped through and though of all of the critter I may be stepping on. I thought of how the temptations of the world sometimes creep out onto the path trying to persuade us from leaving the path and drown in the depths of sorrow and misery. Only hold to the Word of God allows one to ford the powerful waters that seem to engulf the soul in times of weakness, required faith and diligent obedience.

As I crested the park, turned east back towards my neighborhood and my normal running course, I was somewhat disappointed that I had not experienced the fruit of the tree nor had I even recognized the tree. As I reached the next section of the neighborhood, the Lord prompted me again to turn down just before the neighborhood onto another trail that ran on the other side of the flooded river and to put my trust in him. My hope began to soar again.

Just a few yards into the trail, I was over shadowed by darkness like nothing I had previously experienced in the dream state run. The sky was dark, the rain was beating down, the trail soaked and now I entered into trees that cut off the light from the surrounding landscape. I immediately recognized this as the mist of darkness and I began holding more firm to the rod of iron by allowing myself to think more upon the Lord and His words. After traveling in this manner for a while, the trail exited the trees and ran parallel to the neighborhood in the clear opening. The rain eased for a bit and I graciously thanked the Lord for the experience. But a nagging thought kept coming to the forefront of my mind. What about the Tree of Life.

I asked the Lord and petitioned Him to reveal His location and meaning of the Tree to me. As soon as I asked, the words "Home" were spoken to my heart. My path began at my home and would end there as well. He revealed to me that I once lived with Him in Heaven and I would return to live with Him again. This was a truth I had known my whole life but this morning the truth was revealed in a very unique way to me. The path that leads to the Tree is Jesus Christ, the Tree is Jesus Christ and the fruit is eternal life obtained only through Jesus Christ's Atonement. The home I now occupy is my heaven on earth and only can remain such as I invite Jesus to abide with me and my family. Inviting Jesus to abide with me requires my faith and obedience and holding firm to the iron rod, which is the Word of God or in other words, Jesus Christ. I am surrounded with a loving family and all who enter our home are invited to feel God's love.

How grateful I am that the Lord shook me out of bed, kicked my butt up the trail and gave to me such a unique experience. Of course one could argue that with all of the study of the dream lately from seminary I could have been stretching to conform my vision to see what I wanted. But because I have been searching, the Lord opened my eyes to what He's already revealed and witnessed  personally to me of it's truth. I am grateful He cares enough about me personally to give me opportunities to rely upon Him, to listen, to be obedient and to reveal Himself in unique and personal ways!
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