Me Against Me

I have a reoccurring dream where I’m trying to save myself from some imminent death.

Peril is all around. Usually combustible liquids of some sort.

Maybe I watch too many scary movies?

Is God trying to tell me something in the midnight hours?

I love the verse in the Bible that talks about the days where dreams and visions will be a regular part of God’s communication with us. (Acts 2:17)

Even though I don’t understand a fraction of what the book of Revelation means, I love the imagery.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about dragons, and the book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible to mention them. And every time, they are likened to the devil and seen as menacing and deadly. And they are definitely scary enough to dominate one’s dreams. But, what has really stuck in my mind has been my waking hours, after I’ve dreamed about self-preservation all night long.

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Today, I wake up, put on my clothes, and commute to work.

The radio chatters on and on about celebrity gossip.

I ask God what I’m trying to save myself from.

God speaks the one word: yourself.

I realize it’s true.

Me. All the time it’s me I’ve been trying to save myself from. My own “self-salvation project,” as Timothy Keller calls it.

I want so desperately to control every aspect of my life that even my dreams aren’t safe. And what I need to know, to wake up from the nightmare, is only God can do it.

He alone can save us.

We are terrible self-savers.*

If you were on a plane and it was going down, you might be able to fly/land yourself safely, but are these very good odds if you’re not a commercial airline pilot?

If you drove in the Daytona 500 without any practice and brought the car to speeds above 200-mph going down a straight stretch, could you control it going into the curve?

The answers aren’t even 50/50. They’re bleak. Extremely bleak. And the odds stacked against us for saving ourselves from ourselves are even worse. Try impossible. Saving ourselves from utter damnation isn’t realistic. It took a savior. Someone perfect to rectify us from eternal peril.

Think about the last error in judgment you made. Mine was about ten minutes ago. That is what I’m trying to save myself from, and without someone perfect, I’m doomed to fail. Every time.

Thankfully, the world isn’t contingent on whether I’m perfect or not. Thankfully my nightmares don’t have to trickle into my lifetime, my daytime efforts. God is in control. In an imperfect world, his love still reigns supreme. Even when there are billions of us trying to save ourselves minute-by-minute, he is patiently waiting for us to slacken our man-made grip just a little and admit we’re off course.

*Tipping the vending machine over at work is never the answer.

Brian L. Tucker

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