From a dreamer of dreams
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
Dreams—I love ‘em! For as long as I can remember, my nights have been filled with wonderful, challenging adventures that flow on the wings of imagination, sometimes credible—sometimes not—but nearly always exciting, intriguing; challenging the awakening mind to recall scenes not meant to be analyzed in the merciless light of reason.
In fact, the only time in my life that my sleep was not rewarded by such dreams was during a period of deep depression, when I found myself calling into question—not my faith, but my calling, my place in this Army of ours, and looking desperately for a way out. As God restored my mental and spiritual health, he restored my capacity to dream.
I still dream—and not only at night! For instance, I read John 13:1-17, and I dream of a day when ordinary Christians like you and me will experience greater gratification out of washing the aching, dirty, smelly feet of someone who needs his feet washed than out of a letter of commendation from the territorial commander—when, like the Master, we will “show them the full extent of our love” through others-centered ministry to spiritual, emotional and physical need.
And then I read again the second chapter of Acts, the fulfillment of the risen Christ’s promise that his followers will be baptized with the Holy Spirit; people of God, one moment cowering in fear and frustration of their hopes, the next moment powerful, Spirit-filled witnesses driven by the intensity of their own spiritual experience, out of the upper room and into the crowded streets to proclaim the love of the living Christ Jesus. Oh, the dreams that flood through my mind as I imagine what could happen through this Army of ours, if only . . .
And I am overwhelmed by the intensity of awe that comes when I dream of what took place in the closing verses of that chapter: What a dream! In my fantasy world I see, clothed in Salvation Army uniform, a crowd of Salvationists, devoting themselves to the study of the Word and to the fellowship of believers, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs being done” in the name of the Lord. Lovers of Christ were giving up personal comforts and treasures in order to meet the needs of others. Followers of Christ were forgetting personal competitiveness, minor gripes and complaints, and simply enjoying fellowshipping together “with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people.” And the culmination of my dream, the fulfillment of my calling and yours: “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Do you believe in dreams? I do. And most of all, I believe in the dreams that God awakens in our hearts through the reading of his Word. I believe that what God has in mind is a Spirit-filled Army, “Compelled by God’s love and sincerely seeking to do God’s will…consumed by a total commitment to mission.” (In case you’ve forgotten, that’s the commitment we made in our territorial vision.)
So, inspired by God, let’s dream. And empowered by God, impelled by his Spirit, let’s work our dreams—and his.