Thursday, April 12, 2007

Perfected by a Hopeful Dream

I am a daydreamer. On my weekly commute to New Orleans, exactly 84 miles one way with no radio, I have plenty of opportunity to spend time with this great pastime. I confess that my daydreams are a source of great hope and joy for me, and I believe that they are an essential part of my sanctification and perseverance.

When I was a youngster, my "backdoor" neighbor came home one day with an old rusty car frame. All that separated our yards was a chain length fence, and that fence had a gaping hole in it so I could pass between the yards without hindrance. This neighbor's daughter and I were about the same age, so I spent a good deal of time playing over there before I figured out the differences between boys and girls.

That frame was an item of curiosity for me, and so I asked my neighbor about it. He told me that he was going to build a car out of it. I was amazed and excited about the prospect of seeing him build a car out of that old rusty frame. I had no idea that this project of my neighbor's would consume a good deal of his free time for the next few years of his life.

At first, I didn't notice much progress. He'd go out after work and sand a little, and occasionally he'd bring in more rusty parts. It quickly became far more tedious and boring to watch than I had anticipated. I turned my attention to baseball and bike-riding within the first week. But my neighbor had a vision to see his dream become a reality, and so he persevered.

Little by little, that rusty frame turned into a rusty looking car with holes in the floorboard and doors as I recall. But those were soon filled with bondo, and it wasn't long before the rust was all replaced with candy-apple red. The vacuous cavern beneath the lifeless hood was filled with a living, breathing fire machine. The rusty frame had become an awesome machine. As I recall, it was convertible, red, and some sort of 40'ish Ford. I believe that it had a rumble seat. I don't remember. What I do remember is that my neighbor didn't have it very long. One day, someone of means dropped by and made him an offer for that road machine that he couldn't refuse, and so he sold it.

My neighbor could never have completed that car if he didn't have a clear vision of what that rusty frame could one day be. Michelangelo saw an angel in marble block, my neighbor saw his childhood dream in a rusty frame, and by keeping that dream in his heart, he turned a worthless thing into a treasure.

I don't dream much about hotrods. I dream about people and potential. I dream about what I can be and what my local church can be under the sculpting influence of Spirit and Word. I dream about what each shall become at the moment they are transformed into perfect Christlikeness, even though I have no real idea what that will look like. Here's how John said it:

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3).

Do you see that "what we will be has not yet appeared"? I have never seen Jesus with my physical eyes. Only by the eye of faith have I observed Him in the pages of Scripture. I have read that John saw that "the hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters" (Revelation 1:14-15). Can you imagine that? Can you image that the most mewling, sniveling, aggravating Christian will be made like that in the twinkling of an eye?

I take that dream and I drive to New Orleans with it. I take that dream to church with me on Sunday. I keep that dream before my eyes when the rust of others begins to show. I take that vision with me to my prayer closet when I see rust in myself. I am trying with all of my might to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me. Don't lose that dream. Keep it safe in your heart and think on it often. When the music at church is lousy, when people complain, when no one volunteers, when the students are rowdy and rebellious, when the pastor is distant, when your spouse is annoying, and when you feel that your own sin stinks to high heaven, pull out that dream and gaze at the glory of God in Jesus Christ, and know that one day you and everyone who calls on His Name will be made like Him.


Faith said...

That is a great dream!

Dani said...


thank you... from another daydreamer.