Wednesday, November 26, 2014

God's Playfellow

I had a dream about Heaven once. 

In this dream, I was worshiping God in the midst of a group of demons surrounding me, clawing at my legs. I had my arms outstretched above me, unconcerned with what was around me. 

God stepped in front of me, brushed back the evil shadows with one arm, then He embraced me, lifting me up, up, up. I could feel his perfect love and communicate my love back to Him.  It was the most fulfilling embrace that I have ever received or given, my first clue that this might be something beyond a regular dream.

Next moment, I found myself flying over a magnificent city, vast and breathtaking. As we flew, air flew around me fast, but it was the sight of the city that was taking my breath away. All the buildings, architecture, and engineering were stunning.  Every detail fascinated me, though I was flying by so fast, I couldn't focus on anything as long as I wanted.  Everything was immaculate and gloriously beautiful.  

This city was so alive! I knew it must be Heaven.  People were everywhere, busy, fully alive, moving about, dressed in white linen. Their movements weren't hurried or stressed, but rather, I sensed that the people were all filled with peace, joy, and true strength of purpose.  

Even the streets were alive, especially the streets.  They looked like they had been paved with gems. As I looked, I saw that they were somewhat transparent, something that looked like running water flowed under the stones or through the stones. 

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Lord Most High." 

Of all things, the streets had me most in awe and I felt that I must get a closer look at them. All I could manage to do was gather all my strength and will, take in enough air, and ask, "Closer, please."  It was then that I immediately plopped down in one of the streets, right in front of a quaint house. My legs were fat and useless in front of me like a babies legs are when she is sat down on the floor.

So I sat there and took a closer look at the home before me. It was the most glorious Victorian I had ever seen, with all the woodwork, adorning, careful painting, and rich, deep staining.  Somehow, I knew that this house had been lovingly crafted in every single detail. "Whoever crafted this must have done so with such great love."  I thought to myself, "I could admire this home for ages."

Then, almost at once, the home became a chest with seven drawers. This, actually, did not please me since seven is an odd number, so there were four drawers on one side, three on the other.  It was unbalanced and curious to me.  I knew God was standing behind and I knew He knew all my thoughts.

But as I was sitting in front of the chest like a toddler sits in front of a toy house, I knew the home, the chest was intended for me.  Somehow I just knew the drawers were full of endless mysteries and I knew they were there for me to explore. It was as if the Lord was communicating directly to me without speaking.  "I could explore each of these drawers for years and years and never grow bored," I thought to myself. I was thrilled with the prospect of so many interesting and delightful discoveries.

Next, on impulse, I went to touch the house, just touch it, but part of it broke off like a fragile toy in my clumsy hand.  I felt such regret, like a small child might feel if she were to break a precious gift her Father had given her. I felt such overwhelming sadness because I was not capable of handling the house well, not yet.  "I'm so sorry," I said. "I'm so sorry." But for a moment, I had a sense of hope, perhaps given to me from God Himself, that there would come a day when I would be prepared to handle that chest without breaking it.

That's just when I was lifted up. I felt Father God's perfect pity and perfect understanding.  He embraced me, but only for a moment to gently put me back down again. That is when I awoke a moment later and found myself in my bed.

This dream took place almost a year and half ago.  But, more importantly, it took place only a day or two before my first Classical Conversations practicum.  I did not realize the timing of the dream was at all significant then. But, at the time, I did not know what Classical Conversations would come to mean to me.

I remember that it was only days before my first practicum because at that practicum, I learned that there are seven liberal arts. Seven.  The dream was still fresh to me, so when I heard that number, seven, I got goose bumps, grabbed my husband's arm, and whispered, "Seven! My dream! There were seven drawers in that chest in my dream!" That was the another hint that the dream might have much greater significance than I realized, that it might be hiding a deeper meaning I was intended to discover.  

As I have continued homeschooling my children, and now that I am doing so much more effectively with the help of Classical Conversations, I am, in fact, learning so much about all the subjects. Now, I feel certain that the Lord was using the dream to tell me what to expect, years of exploration and discovery. 

Homeschooling is difficult work, yes, but it is also a gift to me since I am learning so much.  But, even as it was at the end of my dream, I know that will never be the master of every subject. Anyone who is a real learner, I think, just keeps realizing how little they actually know.  But the dream was a confirmation and a promise to me.  I am called to learn and I am doing that by teaching my kids well.  
Since the dream, I have approached a good friend who is a scholar, professor, and expert on the Bible. I asked him if there is any real significance to the number seven.  He tells me "Yes! Certainly!" and that the number seven often stands for Heavenly mysteries or for God Himself.

With that in mind, my philosophy of education deepens. God is the chest. All mysteries, all subjects, all truth has it's origin in God Himself. He holds it all.

"In Him we live and move and have our being."

"He is before all things and in Him all things hold together."

Everyone who has ever learned anything, believer or not, Christian or not, has been given grace from God to learn it. Learning is grace from God and it is spiritual in that God allows it to happen.  When we learn anything, God is revealing something about who He is or what He has done or what He does in this world that He made and sustains.
        
What joys lie before us all, now, and in the ages to come.  We never have to grow bored.  We should always be discovering.  By God's grace, someday, we will always find ourselves in awe of Him forever.  That is what Heaven will be like, I think.  We will have a continual joy of discovery there, always fully engaged in our work, in constant wonder and awe.  We will have the God of infinity to explore and enjoy for eternity.  Think of it!

The Bible also says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.  It is the glory of kings to seek it out." So God wants us to learn.

Not long ago, I came across this quote by Francis Bacon. As soon as I heard it, I felt it gave me even more insight into my dream. Bacon said, 

“Nay, the same Solomon the king, although he excelled in the glory of treasure and magnificent buildings, of shipping and navigation, of service and attendance, of fame and renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to any of those glories, but only to the glory of inquisition of truth; for so he saith expressly, 'The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out;' as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide His works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be God's playfellows in that game.” 

Truly, like a child set before a chest of mysteries, we are invited to play. The game is to seek God, to know Him better, through learning.  So I set myself to the task of teaching my children and in doing so, I am learning.  I feel so very incapable and unfit to the purpose, of course. But I delight in this game of learning that the Father has set me down to play. Clumsy as I am, I intend to play with all my heart for my Father God is at my right hand, looking down upon me, smiling.  

It is Him that seek. And He that I will find forever.

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