You will understand the image for this post as you read further into it, but first, I want to explain the title. It is a quote from Corrie Ten Boom, the celebrated Dutch Holocaust survivor whose story is one of courage and steadfast faith in the midst of hell on earth, which was the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. She, along with Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred German pastor during Hitler's reign of terror, are my heroes of faith, and both proved the strength of their unfaltering faith less than ten years before I was born. I think we tend to relegate such abhorrent evil to the distant past, but if we looked with spiritual eyes, we would see that evil never really retreats. It simply hides for awhile and reinvents itself in a new way.
After the instability in our nation over the last few years, I understand the trepidation and tension that the populace is feeling. And I especially sense the anxiousness among Christians. Would it astound you to know that the advocacy group, Open Doors, reported this past week that "there was a 60% increase over the previous year in the number of Christians killed [worldwide] for their faith." Most of this persecution is happening in Africa and North Korea, but who is naive enough to think that Jesus's prophecy that we will be hated by all on account of His Name does not pertain to us in the US as well?
I am blessed to be in the company of strong women of faith, and it has been interesting to discover that, at this present time, some of us are experiencing God's silence. Don't get me wrong, I know He's present with me, but I find myself in a "waiting mode"; waiting for revelation about what the future holds. There is no fear, mind you, and actually I have experienced a sense of peace, but also this unfamiliar silence had me on the edge of my spiritual seat [and praying], impatient for a word or thought to give me direction. And then I had this incredible dream that I believe answered my prayer....
I am leisurely walking along a path, with a guide, and enjoying walking in the woods. We come to a juncture where there is a road on my right that descends at a gradual slope, and the woods on my left that continue upwards at a moderate climb. Obviously, the road on the right is the easiest method of travel, and I remark to my guide that we could arrive at our destination by taking either route, so why not go to the right? But he persuades me that the option on our left is the preferred course of action. As we begin the gentle climb, I have a sense of apprehension [but not fear] and question him if taking this route won't result in possibly meeting bears. He answers that it is definitely a possibility, but there's no need to be afraid.
At that moment, I look farther up this sloping hill and see a huge bear that then catches our scent. He starts ambling towards us, and though not acting aggressive, I have a healthy respect for his power and size and do not want to engage with him. My guide, in a calm voice, instructs me to get on the back side of a huge oak tree and as the bear circles the tree, I just keep moving around the tree, staying out of its grasp. Eventually, he gets bored and moves on. As I come out from behind the tree, I again look at the top of the hill, and see a gigantic lion, who upon seeing me, roars and charges. I don't have time to be afraid, and soon find myself knocked to the ground.
The lion is clearly intent on killing me, and I am kicking as hard as I can as he tries to bite my feet and render me helpless. All of a sudden I remember that I have a pistol for protection on my right hip. I pull it and fire four shots into his brain and the attack is stopped. This entire time, I am aware that the guide is still there with me, but seems to be watching and assessing how I am handling this attack, ready to jump in if I need him. And then I woke up.
It was one of those dreams when you know it is more than the result of eating a bowl of ice cream before you went to bed. I knew it was spiritual and I knew it was for my benefit. God wasn't silent anymore, and I needed to figure out what He was telling me. I knew right away that the "guide" in my dream was the Holy Spirit, sent to "guide my steps and guide me into all Truth". I knew the bear was a threat, and a natural enemy, but I was able to stay hidden and outmaneuver him. The lion, on the other hand, was aggressive and quite intent on killing me, or at least rendering my walk with God more difficult. I knew the dream was revealing something about the here and now, and my place in the present as a representative of God and His Kingdom. But how to unravel the mystery of it?
What did the bear represent? How about the lion? He was obviously not the Lion of the tribe of Judah because he was trying to kill me! Then I discerned 1Peter 5:8, which says our adversary, the devil, is "like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour". That certainly fit the scenario in my dream. And then I wondered if there was a connection to Babylon's King Belshazzar and his vision of the four beasts, with the bear and lion being two of them. Did that have any significance? Both represented empires, with the bear often interpreted as Russia. So, in my dream, the bear is a threat, but at this point, not aggressive. The lion in Belshazzar's dream was the empire of Babylon; ruthless and strong. The ancient Babylon certainly fits that description, but so does the daughter of Babylon in the End Times, as depicted in Revelation 18. It's hard not to read that chapter and recognize our own empire, and especially the city of New York. But there was more for me to see as I meditated on this powerful dream...
The next thing that struck me was that I was conscious of the guide being the Holy Spirit, but I was surprised that I didn't call out for Jesus to help me. After careful thought and waiting to hear from the Lord, I discerned that I was able to act out of my own power and authority, given to me by Christ in Luke 10:19 ... I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you. Of course, I was not on my own; the Holy Spirit was my guide in defeating the schemes of the bear and lion.
But there was even more to be revealed from a friend, who the morning after I had a conversation with her about this dream, opened her Bible to study and just happened to be in 1 Samuel 17, and here is what verses 34-37 say: But
David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a
lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I
went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth;
and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck
and killed it. Your
servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised
Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God.” David said, “The Lord
who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear,
He will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to
David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” This was no accident, but what did the future King David's exploits have to do with me and my dream?
Both my friend and I were amazed at how the Lord shows us things we are not expecting! She said she knew it wasn't a coincidence that she was reading that particular passage after just hearing about my dream. She asked the Lord what He was showing her. This is what she said the Lord explained to her ... That my assignment is to protect God's flock by speaking, teaching, and writing the Truth, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who leads me into all truth. Furthermore, the dream reveals that I am fighting against the pagan gods and power structures in this age, with the sins of our nation representing the resurgence of the spiritual Babylon. And the last sentence in the Daniel passage held special meaning; "Go, and may the Lord be with you". I am not to sit idle, waiting for Jesus to come rescue me, but as I go, I know He is with me. I have no need to cry out in fear for His help, because His power and authority already reside in me and I have to learn to trust my abilities in fulfilling my assignments here on earth.
And that is what I pray for each of you reading this post today. We live in a time that requires supernatural spiritual discernment. We cannot look to the world for our survival or our identity. We must gird ourselves with the spirit and truth of Almighty God. My friend blessed me and my husband by praying that we receive an increased anointing upon us for the assignments that God has given us, and an increased ability to see beyond the veil of earth into the heavenly sanctuary where we meet face-to-face with God. I invite you to receive this blessing, too. She prayed for us to experience an increased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We are all going to need that to navigate whatever changes are coming upon the world. And I will tell you that He can be trusted; He is reliable and a great comfort in times such as this. He joins with Jesus in interceding for us before the Father, and He is our advocate in all things.
I do not have all the answers, but my Holy Guide does as He leads me in the ways of my Savior and King, Yeshua HaMashiach. I will not be afraid as I traverse this unknown and uncertain future, because my King and my God are known to me! It is my prayer [and my assignment] that I will boldly speak of Him and share that He is the Light in this dark world. Let all the earth know of His power and His Kingdom and His glory that is soon to come. Let our Hope in Him never wane, for He is he Prince of Peace and our Stronghold! Praise Him, for He is worthy to be praised, and we will be saved from our enemies!
Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.