Last night I had a dream: I walked into my office at work and started to search for my baby. I knew that I had a baby and that I had not been a good parent because I had been neglecting it. I had to dig it out from under layers and layers of blankets and clothing. When I uncovered it, it was this shriveled, tiny thing that was no larger than my hand. And I could see that it was struggling to breathe and that it was very weak. I began to feel a sense of panic. I started to force milk down its throat and it gradually began to look better. The legs began to curl up into the usual fetal position and the color got better. I remember feeling immense relief that it did not die. That’s all that I could remember of the dream.
When I woke up this morning, the dream immediately came to mind and I knew that the shriveled up baby was my spiritual self. It was almost like a lightening bolt, the clarity of the dream’s recall and my instantaneous understanding of its meaning. I know I dreamed other things that night, but I could only remember clearly this one dream. It was a message from God, a wake-up call.
I have been neglecting my spiritual self for the past year or so, perhaps even longer. There were maybe periods of a month or so when my spirituality was revived, but for the most part, I have been in a prolonged rut. Although outwardly no one could tell that anything was wrong, inside I knew that I had become this shriveled up baby, a being that could barely breathe, buried under layers of work and suffocating from worldly cares.
Though I have been a believer for many years and may seem to others like someone who is spiritually advanced – able to teach, lead Bible studies, even give sermons – God showed me in this dream that my spiritual self was still a baby. Perhaps at one point I had grown into adulthood, but through this dream, I realized that unlike physical growth, spiritual growth could regress. We can grow backwards and become babes again if we don’t cultivate ourselves properly. If we only pray and read the Bible on Sabbaths, then we are no better than tiny, weak, helpless babes that are on the brink of death.
By the end of the dream, the baby began to get better. That gives me hope. But in my dream, it took time. I had to force milk down the baby’s throat. This means that I need to force myself to study the words of God and pray more, or else my spiritual life will just deteriorate and become a dead corpse.
I hope my dream also forces you to examine the state of your spiritual being. Are you an almost dead baby or a strong adult? Or are you unaware of the tenuousness of your own spiritual state, as I had been? If you have been as neglectful as myself, don’t lose hope. The journey of faith will include repeated failures. But as long as the end is not yet here, we can hope. Let’s keep pushing on.