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Dreams of striving to no avail

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For “who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.        Romans 11: 33-36


Dreams come in myriad forms, some in colour, and some in black and white. But there is a dream-form that, admittedly based on anecdotal evidence only, seems to be dreamed by everyone on several occasions throughout life.


Jersey folk often speak of these dreams because they are so common. The dream-form is that of striving all night to achieve something or to get somewhere but failing to do so. Such dreams include disappointment. They also include embarrassment and shame. Why do all dream them? Why do they recur?


The quote in bold above asks two rhetorical questions. The second one is a major intractable problem that is worth dreaming about. What in earth can I give to God that would require him to pay me for it?


I could sleep without dreaming if, being a grower of Jersey Royals I could give some to God along with an invoice. But I know that won’t work. God is the real producer. He can respond with an identical invoice to be paid by me.


I could sleep without dreaming if, being a dairy farmer, I knew that my milk didn’t come from the lactations of my Jersey herd.


Hold it. I’m in Jersey’s finance industry. I needn’t have an unachieved dream. I can give money – the money I’ve earned. God looks at the money and says, “Dead people can’t work. You’re alive. Why are you alive? Why do you live?” And God adds, “By the way, did you eat Jersey Royals and drink Jersey milk yesterday – so as to stay alive?”


If I’m to get rid of this dream, this inability to find a gift to give to God or with which to make a claim against him, perhaps I should ask a Jersey lawyer.


Best of all I’ll ask someone for an answer from the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth..... That may help me to sleep.


“It’s like this. The first step is to accept the blindingly obvious. You can’t find anything, not an iota, not a jot, not a neuron that doesn’t come from God Almighty and that is not from him, through him and for him.”


“You may strive all night to adjust reality – especially the reality that is all around Jersey and its people in the Spring of 2010 – and live as though it all happened by blind chance, but you won’t achieve that belief in your wildest dreams.”


The second step is to remember one key fact about Jesus of Nazareth that is often on the lips of people in Jersey but which they often don’t mean when they say it. It’s part of the prayer he taught all his followers to pray. It’s this, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.””.


“Then – only then – only when forgiven your debts - will you have something to give to God.”


“You will have something to give to God because God will have forgiven your debts to him – freely and totally. He is able to do that only because Jesus his Son pays the debts of those who will follow him.”


“And in following him you will then be giving to God what you could not possibly give earlier. You will actually be giving as a son or a daughter of God – as a member of God’s family. You will, through Jesus, have become an inheritor of all things. You will be giving to him and to others as one of the family of God.”


“You won’t be giving away what is yours but what is his. God is a giving God and God is a forgiving God so that all his children can give away all they have just like their heavenly Father, who, having given, forgives and then gives again to those who want to follow his Son.”


Is that a dream?

‘Seeking empties a life; giving fills it.’  (Anon.)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son..." (Jesus of Nazareth AD 30 as recorded by John the Apostle, c. AD 90)
Richard Syvret

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