This morning my 9-year-old was feeling a little poorly. He’s had allergy symptoms that have been going crazy. My son has great faith, like most kids will, but the enemy tries to twist their minds to pull them away, little by little. Jack has been physically healed of many little things, but in the last few years, he’s battled allergies and they were really draining him this week. We believe, in our house, that Jesus died for our sickness and disease, as well as for our sin. He redeemed what was lost in creation at the cross. I also am so thankful for the promise in Isaiah 54:13 “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.” I did feel bad for Jack, but felt convicted that this was a battle for his faith. The enemy fights hard to numb those who are called by God, so I prayed for how to encourage Jack.
If it was just one sick day, that would not be a big deal, but this seemed to be a morning ritual and he was getting behind on his math. So, I sat down by his slumped, blanket covered body in the chair. I took a moment to ask the Lord what to do and I heard the words “Victory in Christ” echo in my head. An example came to me quickly.
“Jack, if you bought a lottery ticket and found you’d won a million dollars, what would you do? Would you be excited!” After a short debate about how he would not waste his money on a lottery ticket, we got back to the point. “If you had a lottery ticket that said you won a MILLION dollars, would you believe that you would actually get a million dollars when you turned it in?”
“Yes,” he said. “If we have a claim ticket, then they have to pay us.”
“Is God less faithful than the government? If God promises something, is He faithful?
“Yes!” Jack replied.
“You have a ticket that says ‘Victory in Christ. Ask God what you get with that.”
He closed his eyes and listened. “New life,” he heard.
Well, ask God, “What does new life look like?” He closed his eyes and leaned against the chair. I waited…I waited a little more and soon I heard a little gurgling sound like a snore emerge… He fell asleep. “Ok,” I thought. God can use this. Maybe it is God. I prayed for Jack to have a dream that explains what new life looks life and left for a bit.
In a short while, he was up. I asked him if he heard anything. Yes! “I had a dream!” he exclaimed. Yay! I felt awe and wonder at how God was helping me with my parenting this morning. “Tell me the dream,” I sat down and asked.
“There was a tree with only a couple of leaves left on it. In the morning, when the sun shined on the tree, all of the leaves started to rapidly grow, a couple every second. But when it got dark they began to fall off. They all started to fall off and only a couple leaves were still there. Then the sun shined on the tree, the leaves grew back. When the wind blew in the daytime, none of the leaves came off. At night when the wind blew, all of the leaves went off, except for a couple. The tree was a big willow.”
“Wow! That is a great dream. Do you know what it means?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
I asked him what he knows about willow trees. He knew that they were big and had skinny branches. We got out the encyclopedia and looked up characteristics of a willow. “The willow is often found by streams and rivers.”
I explained the dream. We, like a willow, need to live with our roots in the damp soil that is Christ because we soak up living water from our roots. However, even when we know Him, we can be weakened when we let false things in our heads or false words come out of our mouth. We have to keep ourselves in truth so we produce new growth and new life. New life flourishes in the sunshine of what Jesus has taught. Sin brings clouds. Doubt brings clouds. Deception and twisting the word brings clouds. The darkness doesn’t feed the life of the tree. Be careful whom you take advice from. Jesus is the truth and we must believe what He said. His words are simple and true. His words are life. We have to watch out for deception that would twist His words and cause our leaves to fall off.”
“Now, close your eyes and in your imagination, go stand in the sunshine you saw in your dream and pay attention to how your body feels.”
“Tingly,” he said after a bit.
“That must be what new life feels like as you stand in faith in the light of Christ,” I smiled. “How about if we get up and do your math.”
He seemed to be past his woes and ready to get up and do his math. Amazingly, he finished it in record time, AND got the answer book out to check his own answers and correct them. I’m not sure what all happened to him in the light, but there are definitely some new leaves on his tree!
I know my son didn’t know this, but his dream is almost exactly a picture of Psalm 1.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked (in the dark)
or stand in the way that sinners take (he keeps his roots near Jesus)
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, (in the sunshine)
and who meditates on his law day and night. (he remains there)
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, (the willow)
which yields its fruit in season (He is ready and full of leaves when he needs to be)
and whose leaf does not wither— (stays strong)
whatever they do prospers. (leaves grow rapidly in the light)
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away. (the leaves blow off in the night time)
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Our God, Jehovah Jirah (my provider) is amazing. He is the great I AM.